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Copyright, 1860, 




The four chapters of which this work con- 
sists, originally appeared as four Review articles : 
the first in the Westminster Review, the second 
in the North British Beview, and the remaining 
two in the British Quarterly/ Beview. Severally 
treating different divisions of the subject, but 
together forming a tolerably complete whole, I 
originally wrote them with a view to their repub- 
lication in a united form ; and they would some 
time since have thus appeared in England, had 
not the proprietor of the North British Beview 
refused to let me include the one contributed to 
that periodical. This interdict is, however, of no 
effect in the United States ; and some transatlan- 


tic friends having represented to me that an 

American re-issue was desirable, I have revised 

the articles, and placed them in the hands of 

Messrs. D. Appleton & Co. 

H. S. 

LoxDON, July, 1860. 






Education at Eton, 1842-5. 

" Balston, our tutor, was a good scholar after the 
fashion of the day, and famous for Latin verse ; but 
he was essentially a commonplace don. ' Stephen 
major,' he once said to my brother, ' if you do not 
take more pains, how can you ever expect to write 
good longs and shorts ? If you do not write good 
longs and shorts, how can you ever be a man of 
taste ? If you are not a man of taste, how can you 
ever hope to be of use in the world ? ' " 

{The Life of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Bart., by his 
brother, Leslie Stephen, pp. 80-1.) 




It has been truly remarked that, in order of 
time, decoration precedes dress. Among people 
who submit to great physical suifering that they 
may have themselves handsomely tattooed, ex- 
tremes of temperature are borne with but little 
attempt at mitigation. Humboldt tells us that an 
Orinoco Indian, though quite regardless of bodily 
comfort, will yet labour for a fortnight to purcliase 
pigment wherewith to make himself admired ; and 
that the same woman who would not hesitate to 
leave her hut without a fragment of clothing on, 
would not dare to commit such a breach of decorum 
as to go out unpainted. Yoyagers uniformly find 
that coloured beads and trinkets are much more 
prized by wild tribes than are calicoes or broad- 
cloths. And the anecdotes we have of the ways in 
which, when shirts and coats are given, they turn 


tliem to some ludicrous display, show liow com- 
pletely the idea of ornament predominates over 
that of use. Nay, there are still more extreme il- 
lustrations : witness the fact narrated by Capt. 
Speke of his African attendants, who strutted about 
in their goat-skin mantles when the weather was 
fine, but when it was wet, took them off, folded 
them up, and went about naked, shiyering in the 
rahi ! Indeed, the facts of aboriginal life seem to 
indicate that dress is developed out of decorations. 
And when we remember that even among our- 
selves most think more about the fineness of the 
fabric than its warmth, and more about the cut 
than the convenience — when we see that the func- 
tion is still in great measure subordinated to the 
appearance — we have further reason for inferring 
such an origin. 

It is not a little curious that the like relations 
hold with the mind. Among mental as among 
bodily acquisitions, the ornamental comes before 
the useful. Not only in times past, but almost as 
much in our own era, that knowledge which con- 
duces to personal well-being has been postponed to 
that which brings applause. In the Greek schools, 
music, poetry, rhetoric, and a philosophy which, 
until Socrates taught, had but little bearing upon 
action, were the dominant subjects ; while knowl- 
edge aiding the arts of life had a very subordinate 
place. And in our own universities and schools at 
the present moment the like antithesis holds. We 
are guilty of something like a platitude when we 


saj that tliroiighout his after-career a boy, in nine 
cases out of ten, applies his Latin and Greek to no 
practical purposes. The remark is trite that in his 
shop, or his office, in managing his estate or his fam- 
ily, in playing his part as director of a bank or a rail- 
way, he is very little aided by this knowledge he took 
so many years to acquire — so little, that gener- 
ally the greater part of it drops out of his mem- 
ory ; and if he occasionally vents a Latin quotation, 
or alludes to some Greek myth, it is less to throw 
light on the topic in hand than for the sake of ef- 
fect. If we inquire what is the real motive for giv- 
ing boys a classical education, we find it to be sim- 
ply conformity to public opinion. Men dress their 
children's minds as they do their bodies, in the pre- 
vailing fasliion. As the Orinoco Lidian puts on his 
paint before leaving his hut, not with a view to any 
direct benefit, but because he would be ashamed to 
be seen without it ; so, a boy's drilling in Latin and 
Greek is insisted on, not because of their intrinsic 
value, but that he may not be disgraced by being 
found ignorant of them — that he may have " the 
education of a gentleman " — the badge marking a 
certain social position, and bringing a consequent 

This parallel is still more clearly displayed in 
the case of the other sex. In the treatment of both 
mind and body, the decorative element has con- 
tinued to predominate in a greater degree among 
women than among men. Originally, personal 
adornment occupied the attention of both sexes 


equally. In these latter days of civilization, how- 
ever, we see that in the dress of men the regard for 
appearance has in a considerable degree yielded to 
the regard for comfort ; while in their education 
the useful has of late been trenching on the orna- 
mental. In neither direction has this change gone 
so far with women. The wearing of ear-rings, fin- 
ger-rings, bracelets ; the elaborate dressings of the 
hair ; the still occasional use of paint ; the immense 
labour bestowed in making habiliments sufficiently 
attractive ; and the great discomfort that will be 
submitted to for the sake of conformity ; show how 
greatly, in the attiring of women, the desire of ap- 
probation overrides tlie desire for warmth and con- 
venience. And similarly in their education, the 
immense preponderance of " accomplishments " 
proves how here, too, use is subordinated to dis- 
play. Dancing, deportment, the piano, singing, 
drawing — what a large space do these occupy ! If 
you ask why Italian and German are learnt, you 
will find that, under all the sham reasons given, the 
real reason is, that a knowledge of those tongues is 
thought ladylike. It is not that the books written 
in them may be utilized, which they scarcely ever 
are ; but that Italian and German songs may be 
sung, and that the extent of attainment may bring 
whispered admiration. The births, deaths, and 
marriages of kings, and other like historic trivial- 
ities, are committed to memory, not because of any 
direct benefits that can possibly result from know- 
ing them ; but because society considers them pai'ts 


of a good education — ^because tlie absence of sucli 
knowledge may bring the contempt of others. 
When we have named reading, writing, speUing, 
grammar, arithmetic, and sewing, we have named 
about all the things a girl is taught with a view to 
their direct uses in life ; and even some of these 
liave more reference to the good opinion of others 
than to immediate personal welfare. 

Tlioroughlv to realize the truth that with the 
mind as with the body the ornamental precedes the 
useful, it is needful to glance at its rationale. Tliis 
lies in the fact that, from the far past down even to 
the present, social needs have subordinated individ- 
ual needs, and that the chief social need has been 
the control of individuals. It is not, as we com- 
monly suppose, that there are no governments but 
those of monarchs, and parliaments, and constituted 
authorities. These acknowledged governments are 
supplemented by other unacknowledged ones, that 
grow up in all circles, in which every man or wo- 
man strives to be king or queen or lesser dignitary. 
To get above some and be reverenced by them, and 
to propitiate those who are above us, is the univer- 
sal struggle in which the chief energies of life are 
expended. By the accumulation of wealth, by 
style of living, by beauty of dress, by display of 
knowledge or intellect, each tries to subjugate 
others ; and so aids in weaving that ramified net- 
work of restraints by which society is kept in order. 
It is not the savage chief only, who, in formidable 
war-paint, with scalps at his belt, aims to strike 


awe into his inferiors ; it is not only the belle who, 
hy elaborate toilet, polished manners, and numer- 
ous accomplishments, strives to " make conquests ; " 
but the scholar, the historian, the philosopher, use 
their acquirements to the same end. We are none 
of us content -svitli quietly unfolding our own indi- 
vidualities to the full in all directions ; bnt have a 
restless craving to impress our individualities upon 
others, and in some way subordinate them. And 
this it is which determines the character of our ed- 
ucation. Xot what knowledge is of most real worth, 
is the consideration ; but what will bring most ap- 
plause, honour, respect — what will most conduce to 
social position and influence — what will be most 
imposing. As, throughout life, not what we are, 
but what we shall be thought, is the question ; so 
in education, the question is, not the intrinsic value 
of knowledge, so much as its extrinsic effects on 
others. And this being our dominant idea, direct 
utility is scarcely more regarded than by the bar- 
barian when filing his teeth and staining his nails. 

If there needs any further evidence of the rude, 
undeveloped character of our education, we have it 
in the fact that the comparative worths of different 
kinds of knowledge have been as yet scarcely even 
discussed — much less discussed in a methodic way 
with definite results. Not only is it that no stand- 
ard of relative values has yet been agreed upon ; 
but tlie existence of any such standard has not 
been conceived in any clear manner. And not 


only is it that the existence of any such standard 
has not been clearly conceived ; but the need for it 
seems to have been scarcely even felt. Men read 
books on this topic, and attend lectures on that; 
decide that their children shall be instructed in 
these branches of kiiowledge, and shall not be in- 
structed in those ; and all under the guidance of 
mere custom, or liking, or prejudice ; without ever 
considering the enormous importance of determin- 
ing in some rational way what things are really 
most worth learning. It is true that in all circles 
we have occasional remarks on the importance of 
this or the other order of information. But whether 
the degree of its importance justifies the- expendi- 
ture of the time needed to acquire it ; and whether 
there are not tilings of more importance to which 
the time might be better devoted ; are queries 
which, if raised at all, are disposed of quite sum- 
marily, according to personal predilections. It is 
true also, that from time to time, we hear revived 
the standing controversy respecting the comparative 
merits of classics and mathematics. Not only, how- 
ever, is this controversy carried on in an empirical 
manner, with no reference to an ascertained crite- 
rion ; but the question at issue is totally insignifi- 
cant when compared with the general question of 
which it is part. To suppose that deciding wheth- 
er a mathematical or a classical education is the 
best, is deciding what is the proper cumculum, is 
much the same thing as to suppose that the whole 


of dietetics lies in determining whether or not bread 
is more nutritive than potatoes ! 

Tlie question which we contend is of such tran- 
scendent moment, is, not wlietlier such or such 
knowledge is of worth, l>nt what is its relative 
worth ? When thej have named certain advan- 
tages which a given course of study has secured 
them, persons are apt to assume that they have jus- 
tified themselves : quite forgetting that the ade- 
quateness of the advantages is the point to be 
judged. There is, perliaps, not a snbject to which 
men devote attention that has not some value. A 
year diligently spent in getting up heraldry, would 
very possibly give a little further insight into an- 
cient manners and morals, and into the origin of 
names. Any one who should learn the distances 
between all the towns in England, might, in the 
course of his life, find one or two of the thousand 
facts he had acquired of some slight service when 
arranging a journey. Gathering together all the 
small gossip of a county, profitless occupation as it 
would be, might yet occasionally lielp to establish 
some useful fact — say, a good example of hereditary 
transmission. But in these cases, every one M'oxild 
admit that there was no proportion between the re- 
quired lal)our and the probable benefit. No one 
would tolerate the proposal to devote some years 
of a boy's time to getting such information, at the 
cost of much more valuable information which he 
miglit else have got. And if here the test of rela- 
tive value is appealed to and held conclusive, then 


should it be appealed to and held conclusive 
throughout. Had we time to master all subjects 
we need not be particular. To quote the old song : — - 

Could a man be secure 

That his days would endure 

As of old, for a thousand long years, 

"What things might he know ! 

"What deeds might he do ! 

And all without liurry or care. 

" But we that have but span-long lives " must ever 
bear in mind our limited time for acquisition. A.nd 
remembering how narrowly this time is limited, not 
only by the shortness of life, but also still more by 
the business of life, we ought to be especially solic- 
itous to employ what time we have to the greatest 
advantage. Before devoting years to some subject 
which fashion or fancy suggests, it is surely wise to 
weigh with great care the worth of the results, as 
compared with the worth of various alternative re- 
sults which the same years might bring if otherwise 

In education, then, this is the question of ques- 
tions, which it is high time we discussed in some 
methodic way. The first in importance, though tlie 
last to be considered, is the problem — how to decide 
among the conflicting claims of various subjects on 
our attention. Before there can be a rational cfur^ 
rieulum, we must settle which things it most con- 
cerns us to know" ; or, to use a word of Bacon's, 
now unfortunately obsolete — we must determine 
the relative values of knowledges. 


To this end, a measure of value is tlie first re- 
quisite. And happily, respecting the true measure 
of value, as expressed in general terms, there can 
be no dispute. Every one in contending for the 
worth of any particular order of information, does 
60 by sliowing its bearing upon some jjart of life. 
In rejjly to the question, " Of what use is it ? " the 
mathematician, linguist, naturalist, or philosopher, 
exphiins the way in which his learning beneficially 
infiuences action — saves from evil or secures good — 
conduces to happiness. When the teacher of writ- 
ing has pointed out how great an aid writing is to 
success in business — that is, to the obtainment of 
sustenance — that is, to satisfactory living ; he is 
held to have proved his case. And when the col- 
lector of dead facts (say a numismatist) fails to make 
clear any appreciable eff'eets which these facts can 
produce on human welfare, he is obliged to admit 
that they are comparatively valueless. All then, 
either directly or by implication, appeal to this as 
the ultimate test. 

How to live ? — that is the essential question for 
us. Not how to live in the mere material sense 
only, but in the widest sense. Tlie general problem 
wliich comprehends every special problem is — the 
right ruling of conduct in all directions under all 
circumstances. In what way to treat the body ; in 
what way to treat the mind ; in what way to man- 
age our afifaii-s ; in what way to bring up a family ; 
in what way to behave as a citizen ; in Mliat way 
to utilize all those sources of happiness which nature 


bupplies — how to use all our faculties to the great- 
est advantage of ourselves and others — how to live 
completely ? And this being the great thing needful 
for us to learn, is, by consequence, the great thing 
which education has to teach. To prepare us for 
complete living is the function which education has 
to discharge ; and the only rational mode of judg- 
ing of any educational course is, to judge in what 
degree it discharges such function. 

This test, never used in its entirety, but rarely 
even partially used, and used then in a vague, half 
conscious way, has to be applied consciously, me- 
thodically, and throughout all cases. It behoves us 
to set before ourselves, and ever to keep clearly in 
view, complete living as the end to be achieved ; so 
that in bringing up our children we may choose 
subjects and methods of instruction, with deliberate 
reference to this end. Not only ought we to cease 
from the mere unthinking adoption of the current 
fashion in education, which has no better warrant 
than any other fashion ; but we must also rise above 
that rude, empirical style of judging displayed by 
those more intelligent people who do bestow some 
care in overseeing the cultivation of their children's 
minds. It must not suffice simply to t?t,inh that 
such or such information will be useful in after life, 
or that this kind of knowledge is of more practical 
value than that ; but we must seek out some process 
of estimating their respective values, so that as far 
as possible we may positively Tcnow which are most 
deserving of attention. 


Doubtless the task is difficult — perhaps never 
to be more than approximately achieved. But, 
considering the vastness of the interests at stake, 
its difficulty is no reason for pusillanimously pass- 
ing it by ; ])ut rather for devoting every energy to 
its mastery. And if we only proceed systematic- 
ally, we may very soon get at results of no small 

Our lirst step must obviously be to classify, in 
the order of their importance, the leading kinds of 
activ'^y which constitute human life. Tliey may 
be naturally arranged into : — 1. Those activities 
which directly minister to self-preservation ; 2. 
Those activities which, by securing the necessaries 
of life, indirectly minister to self-preservation ; 3. 
Those activities which have for their end the rear- 
ing and discipline of offspring ; 4. Those activities 
which are involved in the maintenance of proper 
social and political relations ; 5. Those miscella- 
neous activities which make up the leisure part of 
life, devoted to the gratification of the tastes and 

That these stand in something like their true 
order of subordination, it needs no long considera- 
tion to show. The actions and precautions by 
which, from moment to moment, we secure personal 
safety, must clearly take precedence of all others. 
Could there be a man, ignorant as an infant of all 
surrounding ol)jects and movements, or how to 
guide himself among them, he would pretty cer- 
tainly lose his life the lirst time he went into thp 


street : notwithstanding anj amount of learning he 
might have on other matters. And as entire igno- 
rance in all other directions would be less promptly- 
fatal than entire ignorance in this direction, it must 
be admitted that knowledge immediately conducive 
to self-preservation is of primary^ importance. 

That next after direct self-preservation comes 
tlie indirect self-preservation which consists in ac- 
cpiiring the means of living, none will question. 
Tliat a man's industrial functions must be con- 
sidered before his parental ones, is manifest from 
the fact that, speaking generally, the discharge of 
the parental functions is made possible only by the 
previous discharge of the industrial ones. The pow- 
er of self-maintenance necessarily preceding the 
power of maintaining offspring, it follows that 
knowledge needful for self-maintenance has stronger 
claims than knowledge needful for family welfare 
■ — is second in value to none save knowledge need- 
ful for immediate self-preservation. 

As the family comes before the State in order of 
time — as the bringing up of children is possible be- 
fore the State exists, or when it has ceased to be, 
whereas the State is rendered jDOSsible only by the 
bringing up of children ; it follows that the duties 
of the parent demand closer attention than those of 
the citizen. Or, to use a further argument — since 
the goodness of a society ultimately depends on the 
nature of its citizens ; and since the nature of its cit- 
izens is more modifiable by early training than by 
anything else ; we must conclude that the welfare 


of the family underlies the welfare of society. And 
hence knowledge directly conducing to the first, 
must take precedence of knowledge directly con- 
ducing to the last. 

Those yarious fonns of pleasurable occupation 
■which fill up the leisure left by graver occupations 
— the enjoyments of music, poetry, painting, <fcc. — 
manifestly imply a pre-existing society. Kot only 
is a considerable deyelopment of them impossible 
without a long-established social union ; but their 
yery subject-matter consists in great part of social 
sentiments and sympathies. ISTot only does society 
supply the conditions to their growth ; but also the 
ideas and sentiments they express. And, conse- 
quently, that part of human conduct which consti- 
tutes good citizenship is of more moment than that 
which goes out in accomplishments or exercise of 
the tastes ; and, in education, preparation for the 
one must rank before preparation for the other. 

Such then, we repeat, is something like the ra- 
tional order of subordination : — Tliat education 
which prepares for direct self-preseryation ; that 
which prepares for indirect self-preservation ; that 
which prepares for parenthood ; that which prepares 
for citizenship ; that which prepares for the miscel- 
laneous refinements of life. We do not mean to 
say that these divisions are definitely separable. 
We do not deny that they are intricately entangled 
with each other in such \yay that there can be no 
trainiiig for any that is not in some measure a train- 
ing for all. Kor do we question that of each di' 


vision there are portions more important than cer- 
tain portions of the preceding divisions : that, for in- 
stance, a man of much skill in business but little 
other faculty, may fall further below the standard 
of complete living than one of but moderate power 
of acquiring money but great judgment as a pa- 
rent ; or that exhaustive information bearing on 
right social action, joined with entire want of gen- 
eral culture in literature and the fine arts, is less 
desirable than a more moderate share of the one 
joined with some of the other. But, after making 
all qualifications, there still remain these broadly- 
marked divisions ; and it still continues substan- 
tially true that these divisions subordinate one an- 
other in the foregoing order, because the corre- 
sponding divisions of life make one another 'possible 
in that order. 

Of course the ideal of education is — complete 
preparation in all these divisions. But failing this 
ideal, as in our phase of civilization every one must 
do more or less, the aim should be to maintain a 
due 'proportion between the degrees of preparation 
in each. Not exhaustive cultivation in any one, su- 
premely important though it may be — not even an 
exclusive attention to the two, three, or four divis- 
ions of greatest importance ; but an attention to 
all, — greatest where the value is greatest, less where 
the value is less, least where the value is least. For 
the average man (not to forget the cases in which 
peculiar aptitude for some one department of knowl- 
edge rii'htlv makes that one the bread-winningc oc- 


cupation) — for the average man, we say, the desid- 
eratum is, a training tliat approaches nearest to 
perfection in tlie things wliich most subserve com« 
plete living, and falls more and more below perfec- 
tion in the things that have more and more remote 
bearings on coniplete living. 

In regulating education by this standard, there 
are some general considerations that should be ever 
present to us. The worth of any kind of culture, 
as aiding complete living, may be either necessary 
or more or less contingent. There is knowledge of 
intrinsic value ; knowledge of quasi-intrinsic value ; 
and knowledge of conventional value. Such facts 
as that sensations of numbness and tingling com- 
monly precede paralysis, thattlie resistance of water 
to a body moving througli it varies as the square 
of the velocity, that chlorine is a disinfectant, — these, 
and tlie truths of Science in general, are of intrinsic 
value : they will bear on human conduct ten thou- 
sand years hence as they do now. The extra knowl- 
edge of our own language, which is given l)y an ac- 
quaintance with Latin and Greek, may be consid- 
ered to liave a value that is quasi-intiinsic : it must 
exist for us and for otlier races whose laniiuao-es owe 
mucli to theee sources ; but will last only as long as 
our languages last. While that kind of information 
which, in our schools, usurps the name History 
— the mere tissue of names and dates and dead un- 
meaning events — has a conventional value only : it 
has not the remotest bearing upon any of our ac- 
tions ; and is of use only for the avoidance of those 


onpleasant criticisms which current opinion passes 
upon its absence. • Of course, as those facts whicli 
concern all mankind throughout all time must he 
held of greater moment than those which concern 
only a portion of them during a limited era, and of 
far greater moment than those which concern only a 
portion of them during the continuance of a fashion ', 
it follows that in a rational estimate, knowledge of 
intrinsic worth must, other things equal, take pre- 
cedence of knowledge that is of quasi-intrinsic or 
conventional worth. 

One further preliminary. Acquirement of every 
kind has two values — value as knowledge and value 
as discipline. Besides its use for guidance in con- 
duct, the acquisition of each order of facts has also 
its use as mental exercise ; and its effects as a pre- 
parative for complete living have to be considered 
under both these heads. 

These, then, are the general ideas with which we 
must set out in discussing a curriculum : — Life as 
divided into several kinds of activity of successively 
decreasing importance ; the worth of each order of 
facts as reofulatino; these several kinds of activitv, 
intrinsically, quasi-intrinsically, and conventionally ; 
and their regulative influences estimated both as 
knowledge and discipline. 

Happily, that all-important part of education 
which goes to secure direct self-preservation, is in 
great part already provided for. Too momentous to 
be left to our blundering, IS^ature takes it into her 


own liands. Wliile yet in its nurse's arms, tlie infant, 
by hiding its face and crying at the sight of a stran- 
ger, shows the dawning instinct to attain safety by 
flying from that which is iinlmown and may be 
dangerous ; and when it can walk, the terror it 
manifests if an unfamiliar dog comes near, or the 
screams with which it runs to its mother after any 
startling sight or sound, shows this instinct further 
developed. Moreover, knowledge subserving direct 
self-preservation is that which it is chiefly busied 
in acquiring from hour to hour. How to balance 
its body ; how to control its movements so as to 
avoid collisions ; what objects are hard, and will 
hurt if struck ; what objects are heavy, and injure 
if they fall on the limbs ; which things will bear 
the weight of the body, and which not ; the pains 
inflicted by fire, by missiles, by sharp instruments 
— these, and various other pieces of information 
needful for the avoidance of death or accident, it is 
ever learning. And wdien, a few years later, the 
energies go out in running, climbing, and jumping, 
in games of strength and games of skill, we see in 
all these actions by which the muscles are devel- 
oped, the perceptions sharpened, and the judgment 
quickened, a preparation for the safe conduct of the 
body among surrounding objects and movements ; 
and for meeting those greater dangers that occa° 
sionally occur in the lives of all. Being thus, as 
we say, so well cared for by Nature, this funda- 
mental education needs 'comparative^ly little care 
from us. What we are chiefly called upon to see. 


is, that there shall be free scope for gaining this ex- 
perience, and receiving this discipline, — that there 
shall be no such thwarting of Nature as that by 
which stupid schoolmistresses commonly prevent 
the girls in their charge from the spontaneous phys- 
ical activities they would indulge in ; and so ren- 
der them comparatively incapable of taking care of 
themselves in circumstances of peril. 

This, however, is by no means all that is com- 
prehended in the education that prepares for direct 
self-preservation. Besides guarding the body 
against mechanical damage or destruction, it has 
to be guarded against injury from other causes — 
against the disease and death that follow breaches 
of physiologic law. For complete living it is ne- 
cessary, not only that sudden annihilations of life 
shall be warded off ; but also that there shall be es- 
caped the incapacities and the slow annihilation 
which unwise habits entail. As, without health 
and energy, the industrial, the parental, the social, 
and all other activities become more or less impos- 
sible ; it is clear that this secondary kind of direct 
self-preservation is only less important than the pri- 
mary kind ; and that knowledge tending to secure 
it should rank very high. 

It is true that here, too, guidance is in some 
measure ready supplied. By our various physical 
sensations and desires, Nature has insured a tolera- 
ble conformity to the chief requirements. Fortu- 
nately for us, want of food, great heat, extreme cold, 
produce promptings too peremptory to be disre- 


garded. And would men liahituallyohey these and 
all like promptings when less strong, comparatively 
few evils would arise. If fatigue of body or brain 
were in every case followed by desistance ; if the 
oppression produced by a close atmosphere always 
led to ventilation ; if there were no eating without 
hunger, or drinking without thirst ; then would the 
system be but seldom out of working order. But 
so profound an ignorance is there of the laws of life, 
that men do not even know that their sensations are 
their natural guides, and (when not rendered mor- 
bid by long-continued disobedience) their trust'vt'or- 
thy guides. So that though, to speak teleologic- 
ally, Kature has provided efficient safeguards to 
health, lack of knowledge makes them in a great 
measure useless. 

If any one doubts the importance of an acquaint- 
ance with the fundamental principles of physiology 
as a means to complete living, let him look around 
and see how many men and women he can find in 
middle or later life who are thoroughly well. Oc- 
casionally only do we meet with an example of 
vigorous health continued to old age ; hourly do 
we meet with examples of acute disorder, chroniu 
ailment, general debility, premature decrepitude. 
Scarcely is there one to whom you put the ques- 
tion, who has not, in the course of his life, brought 
upon himself illnesses which a little knowledge 
would have saved him from. Here is a case of 
heart disease consequent on a rheumatic fever that 
followed reckless exposure. There is a case of eyes 


spoiled for life by overstudy. Yesterday the ac- 
count was of one whose long-enduring lameness was 
brouglit on by continuing, spite of the pain, to use 
a knee after it liad been slightly injured. And to 
day we are told of another who has had to lie b;y 
for years, l^ecause he did not know that the palpita- 
tion he suffered from resulted from overtaxed brain., 
Now we hear of an irremediable injury that follow- 
ed some silly feat of strength ; and, again, of a con- 
stitution that has never recovered from the effects 
of excessive work needlessly undertaken. AVliile 
on all sides we see the perpetual minor ailments 
wliich accompany feebleness. Not to dwell on tlie 
natural pain, the weariness, the gloom, the waste 
of time and money thus entailed, only consider how 
greatly ill-health hinders the discharge of all duties 
— makes business often impossible, and always more 
difficult ; produces an irritability fatal to the right 
management of children ; puts the functions of citi- 
zenship out of the question ; and makes amusement 
a bore. Is it not clear that the physical sins— 
partly our forefathers' and partly our own — which 
produce this ill-health, deduct more from complete 
living than anything else ? and to a great extent 
make life a failure and a burden instead of a bene- 
faction and a pleasure ? 

To all which add the fact, that life, besides being 
thus immensely deteriorated, is also cut short. It 
is not true, as we commonly suppose, that a disor- 
der or disease from which we have recovered leavee 
us as before. No disturbance of the normal cours© 


of the functions can pass away and leave things ex- 
actly as they were. In all cases a permanent dam- 
age is done — not immediately appreciable, it may 
be, but still there ; and along with other such items 
which Xature in her strict account-keeping never 
drops, will tell against us to the inevitable shorten- 
ing of our days. Through the accumulation of 
small injuries it is that constitutions are commonly 
undermined, and break down, long before their 
time. And if we call to mind how far the average 
duration of life falls below the possible duration, 
we see how immense is the loss. When, to the nu- 
merous partial deductions which bad health entails, 
we add this great final deduction, it results that or- 
duiarily more than one-half of life is thrown away. 
Hence, knowledge which subserves direct self- 
preservation by preventing this loss of health, is of 
primary importance. AVe do not contend that pos- 
session of such knowledge would by any means 
wholly remedy the evil. For it is clear that in our 
present phase of civilization men's necessities often 
compel them to transgress. And it is further clear 
that, even in the absence of such compulsion, their 
inclinations would frequently lead them, spite of 
their knowledge, to sacrifice future good to present 
gratification. But we do contend that the right 
knowledge impressed in the right way would efl^ect 
much ; and we further contend that as the laws of 
health must be recognised before they can be fully 
conformed to, the imparting of such knowledge 
must precede a more rational living — come when 


that may. We infer that as vigorous health and 
its accompanying high spirits are larger elements 
of happiness than any other things whatever, the 
teaching how to maintain them is a teaching that 
yields in moment to no other whatever. And there° 
fore we assert that such a course of physiology as is 
needful for the comprehension of its general truths, 
and their bearings on daily conduct, is an all-essen- 
tial part of a rational education. 

Strange that the assertion should need making ! 
Stranger still that it should need defending ! Yet 
are there not a few by whom such a proposition 
will be received with something approaching to de- 
rision. Men who would blush if caught saying 
Iphigenia instead of Iphigenia, or would resent as 
an insult any imputation of ignorance respecting 
the fabled labours of a fabled demi-god, show not 
the slightest shame in confessing that they do not 
know where the Eustachian tubes are, what are the 
actions of the spinal coigl, what is the normal rate 
of pulsation, or how the lungs are inflated. While 
anxious that their sons should be well up in the su- 
perstitions of two thousand years ago, they care not 
that they should be taught anything about the 
structure and functions of their own bodies — nay, 
would even disapprove such instruction. So over- 
whelming is the influence of established routine! 
So terribly in our education does the ornamental 
override the useful ! 

We need not insist on the value of that knowl- 
edge which aids indirect self-preservation by facili- 


tating the gaining of a livelihood. Tliis is admitted 
l)y all ; and, indeed, by the mass is perhaps too 
exclusively regarded as the end of education. But 
■while every one is ready to endorse the abstract 
proposition that instruction fitting youths for the 
business of life is of high importance, or even to 
consider it of supreme importance ; yet scarcely 
any inquire what instruction will so fit them. It is 
true that reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught 
with an intelligent appreciation of their uses ; but 
when we have said this we have said nearly all. 
While the great bulk of what else is acquired has 
no bearing on the industrial activities, an immensi- 
ty of information that has a direct bearing on the 
industrial activities is entirely passed over. 

For, leaving out only some very small classes, 
what are all men employed in ? They are employ- 
ed in the production, preparation, and distribution 
of commodities. And on what does efficiency in 
the production, preparation, and distribution of 
commodities depend ? It depends on the use of 
methods fitted to the respective natures of these 
commodities ; it depends on an adequate knowledge 
of their physical, chemical, or vital properties, as 
the case may be ; that is, it depends on Science. 
This order of knowledge, which is in great part ig- 
nored in our school courses, is the order of knowl- 
edge underlying the right performance of all those 
processes by which civilized life is made possible. 
Undeniable as is this truth, and thrust upon us as 
it is at every turn, there seems to be no living con- 


scioiisness of it : its very familiarity makfts it unre- 
garded. To give due weight to our arguuieiit, wc 
must, tlierefore, realize this truth to the reader by 
a rapid review of the facts. 

For all the higher arts of construction, eome ac= 
qiiaintance with Mathematics is indispensable. The 
village carpenter, who, lacking rational instruction. 
lays out his work by empirical rules learnt in his ap- 
prenticeship, equally with the builder of a Britan- 
nia Bridge, makes hourly reference to the laws of 
quantitative relations. The surveyor on whose sur^ 
vey the land is purchased ; the architect in design- 
ing a mansion to be built on it ; the builder in pre- 
paring his estimates ; his foreman in laying out the 
foundations ; the masons in cutting the stones ; and 
the various artisans who put up the fittings ; are all 
guided by geometrical truths. Eailway-making i» 
regulated from beginning to end by mathematics ; 
alike in the preparation of plans and sections ; in 
staking out the line ; in the mensuration of cuttings 
and embankments ; in the designing, estimating, 
and building of bridges, culverts, viaducts, tunnels, 
stations. And similarly with the harbours, docks, 
piers, and various engineering and architectural 
works that fringe the coasts and overspread the face 
of the country ; as well as the mines that run un- 
derneath it. Out of geometry, too, as applied to 
astronomy, the art of navigation has grown ; and 
so, by this science, has been made possible that 
enormous foreign commerce which supports a large 
part of our population, and supplies us with many 


necessaries and most of onr luxuries. And now-a- 
days even tlie farmer, for the correct laying out of 
liis drains, lias recourse to the level — that is, to ge- 
ometrical principles. "When from those divisions of 
mathematics which deal with space, and numheVj 
some small smattering of which is given in schools, 
we turn to that other division which deals with 
force, of which even a smattering is scarcely ever 
given, we meet with another large class of activities 
which this science presides over. On the applica- 
tion of rational mechanics depends the success of 
nearly all modern manufacture. The properties of 
the lever, the wheel and axle, &c., are involved in 
every machine — -every machine is a solidified me- 
chanical theorem ; and to machinery in these times 
we owe nearly all jiroduction. Trace the history 
of the breakfast-roll. Tlie soil out of which it came 
was drained with machine-made tiles ; the surface 
was turned over by a machine ; the seed was put 
in by a machine ; the wlieat was reaped, thrashed, 
and winno\yed by machines ; by machinery it was 
ground and bolted ; and had the flour been sent to 
Gosport, it might have been made into biscuits by 
a machine. Look round the room in which you sit. 
If modem, probably the bricks in its walls were 
machine-made ; by machinery the flooring was 
sawn and planed, the mantel-shelf sawn and pol- 
ished, the paper-hangings made and printed ; the 
veneer on the table, the turned legs of the chairs, 
the carpet, the curtains, are all products of ma* 
chinery. And your clothing — plain, figured, of 


printed- is it not wholly woven, nay, perhaps even 
sewed, by machinery ? And the volume you are 
reading — are not its leaves fabricated by one ma° 
chine and covered with these words by another? 
Add to which that for the means of distributiou 
over both land and sea, we are similarly indebted. 
And then let it be remembered that according as 
the principles of mechanics are well or ill used to 
these ends, comes success or failure — individual and 
national. Tlie engineer who misapplies his formulse 
for the strength of materials, builds a bridge that 
breaks down. Tlio manufacturer whose apparatus 
is badly devised, cannot compete with another whose 
apparatus wastes less in friction and inertia. Tlie 
ship-builder adhering to the old model, is outsailed 
by one who builds on the mechanically-justified 
wave-line principle. And as the ability of a nation 
to hold its own against other nations depends on 
the skilled activity of its units, we see that on such 
knowledge may turn the national fate. Judge then 
the worth of mathematics. 

Pass next to Physics. Joined with mathemat- 
ics, it has given us the steam-engine, which does 
the work of millions of labourers. That section of 
physics which deals with the laws of heat, has taught 
us how to economise fuel in our various industries ; 
how to increase the produce of our smelting furnaces 
by substituting the hot for the cold blast ; how to 
Ventilate our mines ; how to prevent explosions by 
using the safety-lamp ; and, through the thermom- 
eter, how to regulate innumerable processes. That 


division -which lias the phenomena of light for its 
subject, gives eyes to the old and the myopic ; aids 
through the microscope in detecting diseases and 
adulterations ; and \>y improved lighthouses pre= 
vents shipwrechs. Kesearchcs in electricity and 
magnetism have saved incalculable life and prop- 
srtj by the compass ; have subserved sundry arts by 
the electrotype ; and now, in the telegraph, have 
supplied us with the agency by which for the future 
all mercantile transactions will be regulated, politi- 
cal intercourse carried on, and perhaps national 
quarrels often avoided. While in the details of in- 
door life, from the improved kitchen-range up to 
the stereoscope on the drawing-room table, the aiv- 
plications of advanced physics underlie our comforts 
and gratifications. 

Still more numerous are the bearings of Chem- 
istry on those activities by which men obtain the 
means of living. The bleacher, the dyer, the calico- 
printer, are severally occupied in j^rocesses that are 
well or ill done according as they do or do not con- 
form to chemical laws. The economical reduction 
from their ores of copper, tin, zinc, lead, silver, iron, 
are in a great measure questions of chemistry. Su- 
gar-refining, gas-making, soap-boiling, gunpowder 
manufacture, are operations all partly chemical ; as 
are also those by which are producred glass and por- 
celain. Whether the distiller's wort stops at the 
alcoholic fermentation or passes into the acetous, is 
a chemical question on which hangs his profit or 
loss and the brewer, if his business is sufiicientl^ 


large, finds it pay to keep a eliemist on his premises. 
Glance tb rough a work on technology, and it be- 
comes at once apparent that there is now scarcely 
any process in the arts or manufactures over some 
part of which chemistry does not preside. And 
then, lastly, we come to the fact that in these times, 
agriculture, to be profitably earned on, must have 
like guidance. The analysis of manures and soils ; 
their adaptations to each other ; the use of gypsum 
or other substance for fixing ammonia ; the utiliza- 
tion of coprolites ; the production of artificial ma- 
nures — all these are boons of chemistry which it 
behoves the farmer to acquaint himself with. Be 
it in the lucifer match, or in disinfected sewage, or 
in photographs — in bread made without fermenta- 
tion, or perfumes extracted from refuse, we may 
perceive that chemistry afiects all our industries ; 
and that, by consequence, knowledge of it concerns 
every one who is directly or indirectly connected 
with our industries. 

And then the science of life — Biology ; does not 
this, too, bear fundamentally upon these processes 
of indirect self-preservation ? With what we ordi- 
narily call manufactures, it has, indeed, little con- 
nexion ; but with the all-essential manufacture — ■ 
that of food — it is inseparably connected. As agri- 
culture must conform its methods to the phenomena 
of vegetable and animal life, it follows necessarily 
that the science of these phenomena is the rational 
basis of agriculture. Various biological truths have 
indeed been empirically established and acted upon 


by farmers while yet there has been no conception 
of them as science : such as that particular ma- 
nures are suited to particular plants ; that crops of 
certain kinds unfit the soil for other crops ; that 
horses cannot do good work on poor food ; that such 
and such diseases of cattle and sheep are caused by 
such and such conditions. These, and the every- 
day knowledge which the agriculturist gains by ex^ 
perience respecting the right management of plants 
and animals, constitute his stock of biological facts ; 
on the largeness of which greatly depends his suc- 
cess. And as these biological facts, scanty, indefi- 
nite, rudimentary, though they are, aid him so es- 
sentially ; judge what must be the value to him of 
such facts when they become positive, definite, and 
exhaustive. Indeed, even now we may see the 
benefits that rational biology is conferring on him. 
Tlie truth that the production of animal heat im- 
plies waste of substance, and that, therefore, pre- 
venting loss of heat prevents the need for extra 
food — a purely theoretical conclusion — now guides 
the fattening of cattle : it is found that by keeping 
cattle warm, fodder is saved. Similarly Avith re- 
spect to variety of food. The experiments of phys- 
iologists have shown that not only is change of diet 
beneficial, but that digestion is facilitated by a mix- 
ture of ingredients in each meal : both which truths 
are now influencing cattle-feeding. The discovery 
that a disorder known as " the staggers," of which 
many thousands of sheep have died annually, is 
caused by an entozoon which presses on the brain ; 



and that if the creature is extracted through the 
softened place in the skull which marks its position, 
the sheep usually recovers ; is another debt which 
agriculture owes to biology. When we observe tht; 
marked contrast between our farming and farming 
on the Continent, and remember that this contrast 
is mainly due to the far greater influence science 
has had upon farming here than there ; and when 
we see how, daily, competition is making the adopx 
tion of scientific methods more general and neces- 
sary ; we shall rightly infer that very soon, agricul- 
tural success in England will be impossible without 
a competent knowledge of animal and vegetable 

Yet one more science have we to note as bear- 
ing directly on industrial success — the Science of 
Society. Without knowing it, men who daily look 
at the state of the money-market, glance over prices 
current, discuss the probable crops of corn, cotton, 
sugar, wool, silk, weigh the chances of war, and 
from all those data decide on their mercantile oper^ 
ations, are students of social science : empirical and 
blundering students it may be ; but still, students 
who gain the prizes or are plucked of their profits, 
according as they do or do not reach the right con- 
clusion. Not only the manufacturer and the mer- 
chant must guide their transactions by calculations 
of supply and demand, based on numerous facts^ 
and tacitly recognising sundry general principles 
of social action ; but even the retailer must do the 
like : his prosperity very greatly depending upon 


the correctness of Lis judgments respecting the fu. 
tiirc wholesale ]>ri('es and the future rates of con^ 
sumption. Manifestly, all who take part in the en- 
tangled commercial activities of a community, are 
vitally interested in understanding the laws accord- 
ing to which those activities vary. 

Thus, to all such as are occui)ied in the produc- 
tion, exchange, or distrihution of commodities, ac- 
cpiaintance with science in some of its departments, 
is of fundamental importance. Whoever is imme- 
diately or remotely implicated in any form of indus- 
try (and few are not) has a direct interest in under- 
standing something of the mathematical, physical, 
and chemical properties of things ; perhaps, also, 
has a direct interest in biology ; and certainly has 
in sociology. Whether he does or does not succeed 
well in that indirect self-preservation which we call 
getting a good livelihood, depends in a great degree 
on his knowledge of one or more of these sciences : 
not, it may be, a rational knowledge ; but still a 
knowledge, though empirical. For what we call 
learning a business, really implies learning the sci- 
ence involved in it ; though not perhaps under the 
name of science. And hence a grounding in science 
is of great importance, both because it prepares for 
all this, and because rational knowledge has an im- 
mense superiority over empirical knowledge. More- 
over, not only is it that scientific culture is requisite 
for each, that he may understand the Junv and the 
w/ii/ of the things and processes witli which he is con- 
cerned as maker or distributor ; but it is often of 


much moment that he should understand the how and 
the why of various other things and processes. In 
this age of joint-stock undertakings, nearly every 
man above the labourer is interested as capitalist in 
some otlier occupation than his own ; and, as thus in- 
terested, his profit or loss often depends on his knowl- 
edge of the sciences bearing on this other occupa- 
tion. Here is a mine, in the sinking of which many 
shareholders ruined themselves, from not knowing 
that a certain fossil belonged to the old red sand- 
stone, below which no coal is found. Not many 
years ago, 20,000^. was lost in the prosecution of a 
scheme for collecting the alcohol that distils from 
bread in baking : all which would have been saved 
to the subscribers, had they known that less than a 
hundredth part by weight of the flour is changed in 
fermentation. Numerous attempts have been made 
to construct electro-magnetic engines, in the hope 
of superseding steam ; but had those who supplied 
the money, understood the general law of the cor- 
relation and equivalence of forces, they might 
have had better balances at their bankers. Daily 
are men induced to aid in carrying out inventions 
which a mere tyro in science could show to be fu- 
tile. Scarcely a locality but has its history of for- 
tunes thrown away over some impossible project. 

And if already the loss from want of science is 
so frequent and so great, still greater and more fre= 
quent will it be to those who hereafter lack science. 
Just as fust as productive processes become more 
scientific, wliich comj)etition will inevitably maktf 


tliem do; and just as fast as joint-stock undertak- 
ings spread, which they certainly will ; so fast will 
scientific knowledge grow necessary to every one. 

That which our .school courses leave almost en- 
Urely out, we thus find to be that which most nearly 
concerns the business of life. All our industries 
would cease, were it not for that information which 
men begin to acquire as they best may after their 
education is said to be finished. And were it not 
for this information, that has been from age to age 
accumulated and spread by unofiicial means, these 
industries would never have existed. Had there 
been no teaching but such as is given in our public 
schrols, England would now be what it was in 
feudal times. Tliat increasing acquaintance with 
the laws of phenomena which has through success- 
ive ages enabled us to subjugate Nature to our 
needs, and in these days gives the common labourer 
comforts which a few centuries ago kings could not 
purchase, is scarcely in any degree owed to the ap- 
pointed means of instructing our youth. The vital 
knowledge — that by which we have grown as a na- 
tion to what we are, and which now underlies our 
whole existence, is a knowledge that has got itself 
taught in nooks and corners ; while the ordained 

igencies for teaching have been mumbling little 

jlse but dead formulas. 

We come now to the third great division of hu. 
man activities — a division for which no preparation 
whatever is made. If by some strange chance not 


a vestige of us descended to the remote future save 
a pile of our school-books or "some college examina- 
tion papers, we may imagine how puzzled an anti-^ 
quary of the period would be on finding in them nO) 
indication that the learners were ever likely to be 
parents. " This must have been the curriculum for 
their celibates," we may fancy him concluding. 
" 1 perceive here an elaborate preparation for many 
things : especially for reading the books of extinct 
nations and of co-existing nations (from which in- 
deed it seems clear that these people had very little 
worth reading in then* own tongue) ; but I find no 
reference whatever to the bringing up of children. 
They could not have been so absurd as to omit all 
training for this gravest of responsibilities. Evi- 
dently then, this was the school course of one of 
their monastic orders." 

Seriously, is it not an astonishing fact, that 
though on the treatment of oflfspring depend their 
lives or deaths, and their moral welfare or ruin ; 
yet not one word of instruction on the treatment of 
offspring is ever given to those who will hereafter 
be parents ? Is it not monstrous that the fate of a 
new generation should be left to the chances of im- 
reasoning custom, impulse, fancy — ;joined with the 
suggestions of ignorant nurses and the prejudiced 
counsel of grandmothers ? If a merchant com° 
menced business without any knowledge of aritho 
metic and book-keeping, we should exclaim at his 
folly, and look for disastrous consequences. Or if, 
before studying anatomy, a man set up as a surgi- 


cal operator, m'c slioiild wonder at his audacity and 
pity his patients. But tliat parents slioukl begin 
the dithcnlt task of rearing eliildren witliont ever 
having given a thought to the principles — physical, 
moral, or intellectual — which ought to guide them, 
excites neither sur2>rise at the actors nor pity for 
their victims. 

To tens of thousands that are killed, add hun- 
dreds of thousands that survive with feeble consti- 
tutions, and millions that grow up with constitu- 
tions not so strong as they should be ; and you will 
have some idea of the curse inflicted on their oft- 
spring by parents ignorant of the laws of life. Do 
but consider for a moment that the regimen to 
which children are subject is hourly telling upon 
them to their life-long injury or beneflt ; and that 
there are twenty ways of going wrong to one way 
of going right ; and you will get some idea of the 
enormous mischief that is almost everywhere inflict- 
ed by the thoughtless, haphazard system in com- 
mon use. Is it decided that a boy shall be clothed 
in some flimsy short dress, and be allowed to go 
playing about with limbs reddened by cold ? Tlie 
decision will tell on his whole future existence — ■ 
either in illnesses ; or in stunted growth ; or in de- 
ficient energy ; or in a maturity less vigorous than it 
ought to have been, and consequent hindi-ances to suc- 
cess and happiness. Are children doomed to a monot 
onous dietary, or a dietary that is deficient in nutri- 
tiveness ? Tlieir ultimate physical power and their 
efficiency as men and women, will inevitably be 


rr.ore or less diminished by it. Are they forbidden 
vociferons play, or (being too ill-clothed to bear ex- 
posure), are they kept in-doors in cold weather 1 
They are certain to fall below that measure of health 
and strength to wliicli they would else have attain- 
ed. When sons and daughters grow up sickly and 
feeble, parents commonly regard the event as a 
misfortune — as a visitation of Providence. Tliink- 
ing after the prevalent chaotic fashion, they assume 
that these evils come without causes ; or that tlie 
causes are supernatural. Nothing of the kind. In 
some cases the causes are doubtless inherited ; but 
in most cases foolish regulations are the causes. 
Yery generally parents themselves are responsible 
for all this pain, this debility, this depression, this 
misery. They have undertaken to control the lives 
of their otfspring from hour to hour ; with cruel 
carelessness they have neglected to learn anything 
about these vital processes which they are unceas- 
ingly affecting by their commands and prohibitions ; 
in utter ignorance of the simplest physiologic laws, 
they have been year by year undermining the con- 
stitutions of their children ; and have so inflicted 
disease and premature death, not only on them but 
on their descendants. 

Equally great are the ignorance and the conse- 
quent injury, when we turn from physical training 
to moral training. Consider the young mother and 
her nursery legislation. But a few years ago she 
tt^as at school, where her memory was crammed 
with words, and names, and dates, and her reflect' 


ivo faculties scarcely in the sli^jhtest degree exc^ 
cised — where not one idea was given her respecting 
the methods of dealing witli the opening mind of 
childhood ; and where her discipline did not in the 
Seast fit her for thinking ont methods of her own. 
The intervening years have been passed in practis- 
ing music, in fancy-work, in novel-reading, and in 
party-going : no thought having yet been given to 
the grave responsibilities of maternity ; and scarcely 
any of that solid intellectual culture obtained which 
would be some preparation for such responsibilities. 
And now see her with an unfolding human charac- 
ter committed to her charge — see her profoundly 
ignorant of the phenomena with which she has to 
deal, undertaking to do that which can be done but 
imperfectly even with the aid of the profoundest 
knowledge. She knows nothing about the nature 
of the emotions, their order of evolution, their func- 
tions, or where use ends and abuse begins. She is 
under the impression that some of the feelings are 
wholly bad, which is not true of any one of them ; 
and that others are good, however far they may be 
carried, which is also not true of any one of them. 
And then, ignorant as she is of that with which she 
has to deal, she is equally ignorant of the effects 
that will be produced on it by this or that treat- 
ment. What can be more inevitable than the dis- 
astrous results we see hourly arising ? Lacking 
knowledge of mental phenomena, with their causes 
and consequences, her interference is frequently 
more mischievous than absolute passivity would 


have been. This and that kind of action, wliich 
are quite normal and beneficial, she perpetually 
thwarts ; and so diminishes the child's happiness 
and profit, injures its temper and her own, and 
produces estrangement. Deeds which she thinks 
it desirable to encourage, she gets performed by 
threats and bribes, or by exciting a desire for ap- 
plause : considering little what the inward motive 
may be, so long as the outward conduct conforms ; 
and thus cultivating liypocrisy, and fear, and self- 
ishness, in place of good feeling. While insisting 
on truthfulness, she constantly sets an example of 
untruth, by threatening penalties which she does 
not inflict. While inculcating self-control, she hour- 
ly visits on lier little ones angry scoldings for acts 
that do not call for them. She has not the re- 
motest idea that in the nursery, as in the world, 
that alone is the truly salutary discipline which 
visits on all conduct, good and bad, the natural 
consequences — the consequences, pleasurable or 
painful, which in the nature of things such conduct 
tends to bring. Being thus without theoretic guid- 
ance, and quite incapable of guiding herself by 
tracing the mental processes going on in her chil- 
dren, her rule is impulsive, inconsistent, mischiev- 
ous, often, in the highest degree ; and would indeed 
be generally ruinous, were it not that the over- 
whelming tendency of the growing mind to assume 
the moral type of the race, usually subordinates all 
minor influences. 

And then the culture of the intellect — is not 


this, too, mismanaged in a similar manner ? Grant 
tliat the phenomena of intelligence conform to 
laws ; grant that the evolntion of intelligence in r. 
child also conforms to laws ; and it follows inevita- 
'bly that education can be rightly guided only by a 
knowledge of these laws. To sup])ose that yon can 
properly regulate this process of forming and accu- 
mulating ideas, without understanding the nature 
of the process, is absurd. How widely, then, must 
teaching as it is, ditfer from teaching as it should 
be ; when hardly any parents, and but few teachers, 
know anything about psychology. As might be 
expected, the system is grievously at fault, alike in 
matter and in manner. While the right class of 
facts is withheld, the wrong class is forcibly admin- 
istered in the wrong way and in the wrong order. 
With that common limited idea of education which 
confines it to knowledge gained from books, parents 
thnist primers into the hands of their little ones 
years too soon, to their great injury. Not recog- 
nising the truth that the function of books is sup- 
plementary — that they form an indirect means to 
knowledge when direct means fail — a means of see- 
ing through other men what you cannot see for 
yourself ; they are eager to give second-hand facts 
in place of first-hand facts. Not perceiving the 
enonnous value of that spontaneous education 
which goes on in early years — not perceiving that 
a child's restless observation, instead of being ig- 
nored or checked, should be diligently administered 
to, and made as accurate and complete as possible ; 


tlicy insist on occupying its eyes and thoughts with 
things that are, for the time being, incomprehensi- 
ble and repugnant. Possessed by a superstition 
wliieh worships the symbols of knowledge instead 
of the knowledge itself, tliey do not see that only 
when his acquaintance with the objects and processes 
of the household, the streets, and the fields, is be- 
coming tolerably exhaustive — only then should a 
(•hild be introduced to the new sources of informa- 
tion which books supply : and this, not only because 
immediate cognition is of far greater value than 
mediate cognition ; but also, because the words 
contained in books can be rightly interpreted into 
ideas, only in proportion to the antecedent experi- 
ence of things.. Observe next, that this formal in- 
struction, far too soon commenced, is carried on with 
but little reference to the laws of mental develop- 
ment. Intellectual progress is of necessity from the 
concrete to the abstract. But regardless of this, 
liighly abstract subjects, such as grammar, which 
should come quite late, are begun quite earl}". Po' 
litieal geography, dead and uninteresting to a child, 
and which should be an appendage of sociological 
studies, is commenced betimes ; while physical ge^ 
ography, comprehensible and comparatively attract- 
ive to a child, is in great part passed over, Nearly 
every subject dealt with is arranged in abnoi-mal 
order : definitions, and rules, and principles being 
put first, instead of being disclosed, as they are in 
the order of nature, through the study of cases. 
And then, pervading the whole, is the vicious sya 


tern of rote learning — a system of sacrificing the 
spirit to the letter. See the results. What with 
perceptions unnaturally dulled hy early thwarting, 
and a coerced attention to books — what with the 
mental confusion produced by teaching subjects be- 
fore they can be understood, and in each of them 
srivinir creneralizations before the facts of which 
these are the generalizations — what with making the 
pupil a mere passive recipient of other's ideas, and 
not in the least leading him to be an active inquirer 
or self-instructor — and what with taxing the facul- 
ties to excess ; there are very few minds that be- 
come as efficient as they might be. Examinations 
being once passed, books are laid aside ; the greater 
part of what has been acquired, being unorganized, 
soon drops out of recollection ; what remains is 
mostly inert — the art of applying knowledge not 
having been cultivated ; and there is but little 
power either of accurate observation or independent 
thinking. To all which add, that while much of 
the information gained is of relatively small value, 
an immense mass of information of transcendent 
value is entirely passed over. 

Thus we find the facts to be such as might have 
been inferred r) /moi'i. The training of children — 
l)hysical, moral, and intellectual — is dreadfully de- 
fective. And in great measure it is so, because 
parents are devoid of that knowledge by which this 
training can alone be rightly guided. What is to be 
expected when one of the most intricate of i)roblems 
is undertaken by those who have given scarcely a 


tliouglit to the principles on which its sohition 
depends ? For shoe-making or house-building, for 
the management of a ship or a locomotive-enginCj, 
a long apprenticeship is needful. Is it, then, that 
the unfolding of a human being in body and mind, 
is so comparatively simple a process, that any one 
may superintend and regulate it with no prepara- 
tion whatever ? If not — if the process is with one 
exception more complex than any in Xature, and. 
the task of administering to it one of surpassing 
difficulty ; is it not madness to make no provision 
for such a task ? Better sacrifice accomplishments 
than omit this all-essential instruction. When 
a father, acting on false dogmas adopted, with- 
out examination, has alienated his sons, driven them 
into rebellion by his harsh treatment, ruined them, 
and made himself miserable ; he might reflect that 
the study of Ethology would have been worth pur- 
suing, even at the cost of knowing nothing about 
^schylus. When a mother is mourning over a 
first-born that has sunk under the sequelse of scarlet- 
fever — when perhaps 9, candid medical man has 
confirmed her suspicion that her child would have 
recovered had not its system been enfeebled by 
over-study — when she is prostrate under the pangs 
of combined grief and remorse; it is but a small 
consolation that she can read Dante in the originaL 
Thus we see that for regulating the third great 
division of human activities, a knowledge of the 
laws of life is the one thing needful. Some ac- 
quaintance with the first principles of physiology 


and tlie elementary tniths of psychology is indis 
peiisable for the right bringing n]) of cliildren. We 
doubt not that this assertion -will by many be read 
with a smile. Tliat parents in general should be 
3xpected to acquire a hnowledge of subjects so 
abstruse, "will seem to them an absurdity. And if 
we proposed that an exhaustiye knowledge of these 
subjects should be obtained by all fathers and 
mothers, the absurdity would indeed be glaring 
enough. But we do not. General principles only, 
accompanied by such detailed illustrations as may 
be needed to make them understood, would suffice. 
And these might be readily taught — if not ration- 
ally, then dogmatically. Be this as it may, how- 
eyer, here are the indisputable facts : — that the 
development of children in mind and body rigor- 
ously obeys certain laws ; that nnless these laws are 
in some degree conformed to by parents, death is 
inevitable ; that unless they are in a great degree 
conformed to, there must result serious physical and 
mental defects ; and that only when they are com- 
pletely conformed to, can a perfect maturity be 
reached. Judge, then, whether all who may one 
day be parents, should not strive w^th some anxiety 
to learn what these laws are. 

From the parental functions let us pass now to 
the functions of the citizen. "We have here to in- 
quire what knowledge best fits a man for the dis- 
3hargn of these functions. It cannot be alleged, 
ii3 in the last case, that the need for knowledge 


fitting him for these functions is wholly overlooked ; 
for our school courses contain certain studies which, 
nominally at least, bear upon political and social 
duties. Of these the only one that occupies a 
prominent place is History. 

But, as already more than once hinted, the his- 
toric information commonly gi^'en is almost value- 
less for purposes of guidance. Scarcely any of the 
facts set down in our school-histories, and very few 
even of those contained in the more elaborate works 
written for adults, give any clue to the right prin- 
ciples of political action. Tlie biographies of 
monarchs (and our children commonly learn little 
else) throw scarcely any light upon the science of 
society. Familiarity with court intrigues, plots, 
usurpations, or the like, and with all the personali- 
ties accompanying them, aids very little in eluci- 
dating the principles on which national welfare 
depends. We read of some squabble for power, 
that it led to a pitched battle ; that such and such 
were the names of the generals and their leading 
subordinates ; that they had each so many thousand 
infantry and cavalry, and so many cannon ; that 
they arranged their forces in this and that order ; 
that they manoeuvred, attacked, and fell back in 
certain ways : that at this part of the day such dis- 
asters were sustained, and at that such advantage£ 
gained ; that in one particular movement some 
leading officer fell, while in another a certain regi- 
ment was decimated ; that after all the changing 
fortunes of the fight, the victory was gained by this 


or that army ; and that so many were killed and 
wonnded on each side, and so many captured by 
the conqnerors. And now. out of the accumulated 
details which make up the narratire, say wliich it 
Is that helps you in deciding on your conduct as a 
citizen. Supposing even that you had diligently 
read, not only " The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the 
World,'' but accounts of all other battles that his- 
tory mentions : how much more judicious would 
your vote be at the next election i *• But these are 
facts — interesting facts," you say. Without dotibt 
they are facts ^such. at least, as are not wholly or 
partially fictions) ; and to many they may be inter- 
esting facts. But this by no means implies that 
they are valuable. Factitious or morbid opinion 
often gives seeminor value to things that have 
scarcely any. A tulipomaniac will not part with a 
choice bulb for its weight in gold. To another man 
an ugly piece of cracked old china seems his most 
desirable possession. And there are those who 
give high prices for the relics of celebrated mur- 
derers. Will it be contended that these tastes are 
any measures of value in the things that gratify 
them i If not. then it must be admitted that the 
liking felt for certain classes of historical facts is 
no proof of their worth ; and that we must test their 
worth as we test the worth of other facts, by asking 
to what uses they are applicable. Were some one 
to tell you that your neighbours cat kittened yes- 
terday, you would say the information was worth- 
less. Fact though it might be. you wculd say it 


was an utterly iiseless fact — a fact that could in no 
way influence your actions in life — a fact that would 
not help you in learning how to live completely. 
Well, apply the same test to the great mass of his« 
torical facts, and you will get the same resulto 
They are facts from which no conclusions can be 
drawn — unorganizahle facts ; and therefore facts 
which can be of no service in establishing principles 
of conduct, which is the chief use of facts. Kead 
them, if you like, for amusement ; but do not flatter 
yourself they are instructive. 

That which constitutes History, properly so 
called, is in great part omitted from works on the 
subject. Only of late years have historians com- 
menced giving us, in any considerable quantity, the 
truly valuable information. As in past ages the 
king was every thing and the people nothing ; so, 
in past histories the doings of the king fill the entire 
picture, to which the national life forms but an ob- 
scure background. While only now, when the 
welfare of nations rather than of rulers is becoming 
the dominant idea, are historians beginning to oc- 
cupy themselves with the phenomena of social 
progress. That which it really concerns us to 
know, is the natural history of society. We want 
all facts which help us to understand how a nation 
has grown and organized itself. Among these, let 
us of course have an account of its government l 
with as little as may be of gossip about the men 
who officered it, and as much as possible about the 
structure, principles, methods, prejudices, corrup- 


tions, (fee, wliicli it exhibited : aiul let tliis account 
not only include the nature and actions of the cen- 
tral government, but also those of local governments, 
down to their minutest ramifications. Let us of 
course also have a parallel description of the eccle- 
siastical government — its organization, its conduct, 
its power, its relations to the State : and accompany- 
ing this, the ceremonial, creed, and religious ideas 
— not only those nominally believed, but those 
really believed and acted upon. Let us at the same 
time be informed of the control exercised by class 
over class, as displayed in all social observances — 
in titles, salutations, and forms of address. Let us 
know, too, what were all the other customs which 
regulated the popular life out of doors and in-doors : 
including those which concern the relations of the 
sexes, and the relations of parents to children. Tlie 
superstitions, also, from the more important myths 
down to the charms in common use, should be in- 
dicated. Next should come a delineation of the 
industrial system : showing to what extent the divi- 
sion of labour was carried ; how trades were regu- 
lated, "whether by caste, guilds, or otherwise ; what 
was the connection between employers and em- 
ployed ; what were the agencies for distributing 
commodities, what were the means of communica- 
tion ; w4iat was the circulating medium. Accom- 
panying all which should come an account of the 
industrial arts technically considered : stating th«? 
processes in use, and the quality of the })rodu('ts. 
Further, the intellectual condition of the nation in 


its various grades should be depicted : not only 
with respect to the kind and amount of education, 
but with respect to the progress made in science, 
and the prevailing manner of thinking. The degree 
of aesthetic culture, as displayed in architecture, 
sculpture, painting, dress, music, poetry, and fic- 
tion, should be described. Nor should there be 
omitted a sketch of the daily lives of the people — • 
their food, their homes, and their amusements. 
And lastly, to connect the whole, should be ex- 
hibited the morals, theoretical and practical, of all 
classes : as indicated in their laws, habits, proverbs, 
deeds. All these facts, given with as much brevity 
as consists with clearness and accuracy, should be 
so grouped and arranged that they may be compre- 
hended in their ensemhle / and thus may be con- 
templated as mutually dependent parts of one great 
whole. The aim should be so to present them that 
we may readily trace the consensus subsisting among 
them ; with the view of learning what social phe- 
nomena co-exist with what others. And then the 
corresponding delineations of succeeding ages should 
be so managed as to show us, as clearly as may be, 
how each belief, institution, custom, and arrange- 
ment was modified ; and how the consensus of 
preceding structures and functions was developed 
into the consensus of succeeding ones. Such alone 
is the kind of information respecting past times, 
which can be of service to the citizen for the regu- 
lation of his conduct. The only history that is of 
practical value, is what may be called Descriptive 


Sociologj. And the liigliest office wLich tlie his- 
torian can discharge, is that of so narrating the 
lives of nations, as to furnish materials for a Com' 
parative Sociok\gy ; and for tlie subsequent deter- 
mination of the ultimate laws to M'hich social ])lie- 
nomena conform. 

But now mark, that even supposing an adequate 
stock of this truly valuable historical knowledge 
has l)een acquired, it is of comparatively little use 
witliout the key. And the key is to be found only 
in Science. Without an acquaintance with the 
general truths of biology and psychology, rational 
interpretation of social phenomena is impossible. 
Only in proportion as men obtain a certain rude, 
empirical knowledge of human nature, are they 
enabled to understand even tlie simplest facts of 
social life : as, for instance, the relation between 
supply and demand. And if not even the most 
elementary truths of sociology can be reached until 
some knowledge is obtained of how men generally 
think, feel, and act under given circumstances ; 
then it is manifest that there can be nothing like a 
wide comprehension of sociology, unless through a 
competent knowledge of man hi all his faculties, 
bodily and mental. Consider the matter in the ab- 
stract, and this conclusion is self-evident. Thus : — 
Society is made up of individuals ; all that is done 
in society is done by the combined actions of indi- 
viduals ; and therefore, in individual actions only 
can be found the solutions of social phenomena. 
But the actions of individuals depend on the laws 


of their natures ; and their actions cannot be under- 
stood until these laws are understood. These laws, 
however, when reduced to their simplest expres- 
sion, are found to depend on the laws of body and 
mind in general. Hence it necessarily follows, that 
biology and psychology are indispensable as inter- 
preters of sociology. Or, to state the conclusions 
still more simply : — all social phenomena are phe- 
nomena of life — are the most complex manifesta- 
tions of life — are ultimately dependent on the laws 
of life — and can be understood only when the laws 
of life are understood. Thus, then, we see that for 
the regulation of this fourth division of human ac- 
tivities, we are, as before, dependent on Science. 
Of the knowledge commonly imparted in educa- 
tional courses, very little is of any service in guiding 
a man in his conduct as a citizen. Only a small 
part of the history he reads is of practical value ; 
and of this small part he is not prepared to make 
proper use. He commonly lacks not only the 
materials for, but the very conception of, descriptive 
sociology ; and he also lacks that kiiowledge of the 
organic sciences, without which even descriptive 
sociology can give him but little aid. 

And now we come to that remaining division of 
human life which includes the relaxations, pleasures, 
and amusements filling leisure hours. After con- 
sidering what training best fits for self-preservation, 
for the obtainment of sustenance, for the discharge 
of parental duties, and for the regulation of social 


and political conduct ; we have now to consider 
what training Lest tits for the miscellaneous ends 
not included in these — for the enjoyments of Xature, 
of Literature, and of the Fine Arts, in all their 
forms. Postponing them as we do to things that Lear 
more vitally upon human welfare ; and Li'inging 
everything, as we have, to the test of actual value ; 
it will perhaps Le inferred that we are inclined to 
slight these less essential things. I^o greater mis- 
take could Le made, however. We yield to none 
in the value we attach to aesthetic culture and its 
pleasures. Without painting, sculpture, music, 
poetry, and the emotions produced Ly natural 
Leauty of every kind, life would lose half its charm. 
So far from thinking that the training and gratifica- 
tion of the tastes are unimportant, we Lelieve the 
time will come when they will occuj)y a much 
larger share of human life than now. When the 
forces of Kature liaveLeen fully conquered toman's 
use — when the means of pi'oduction have Leen 
Lrought to perfection — when hiLour has Leen econ- 
omized to the highest degree — when education has 
been so systematized that a preparation for the more 
essential activities may Le made with comparative 
rapidity — and when, consequently, there is a great 
increase of spare time ; then will the poetry, Loth 
of Art and Nature, rightly fill a large space in the 
jninds of all. 

But it is one thing to admit that aesthetic cul- 
ture is in a high degree conducive to human hap- 
piness ; and another thing to admit that it is a 


fundamental requisite to human happiness. How- 
ever important it may be, it must yield precedence 
to those kinds of culture which bear more directly 
upon the duties of life. As before hinted, literature 
and the fine arts are made possible by those activi- 
ties which make individual and social life possible ; 
and manifestly, that which is made possible, must 
be postponed to that which makes it possible. A 
florist cultivates a plant for the sake of its flower ; 
and regards the roots and leaves as of value, cliiefly 
because they are instrumental in producing the 
flower. But while, as an ultimate product, the 
flower is the thinor to which evervtliing; else is 
subordinate, the florist very well knows that the 
root and leaves are inti'insically of greater impor- 
tance ; because on them the evolution of the flower 
depends. He bestows every care in rearing a healthy 
plant ; and knows it would be folly if, in his anx- 
iety to obtain the flower, he were to neglect the 
plant. Similarly in the case before us. Architec- 
ture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry, &c., may 
be truly called the efliorescence of civilized life. 
But even supposing them to be of such transcendent 
worth as to subordinate the civilized life out of which 
they grow (which can hardly be asserted), it will 
still be admitted that the production of a healthy 
civilized life must be the first consideration ; and 
that the knowledge conducing to this must occupy 
the highest place. 

And here we see most distinctly the vice of our 
educational system. It neglects the plaftt for the 


sake of the flower. In anxiety for elegance, it for- 
gets substance. While it gives no knowledge con- 
ducive to self-preservation — while of knowledge 
that facilitates gaining a livelihood it gives but the 
rudiments, and leaves the greater part to be picked 
up any how in after life — while for the discharge 
of parental functions it makes not the slightest pro- 
rision — and while for the duties of citizenship it 
prepares by imparting a mass of facts, most of 
which are irrelevant, and the rest without a key ; 
it is diligent in teaching every tking that adds to 
refinement, polish, dclat. However fully we may 
admit that extensive acquaintance with modern 
languages is a valuable accomplishment, which, 
through reading, conversation, and travel, aids in 
giving a certain finish ; it by no means follows that 
this result is rightly purchased at the cost of that 
vitally important knowledge sacrificed to it. Sup- 
posing it true that classical education conduces to 
elegance and correctness of style ; it cannot be said 
that elegance and correctness of style are com- 
parable in importance to a familiarity with the 
principles that should guide the rearing of children. 
Grant that the taste may be greatly improved by 
reading all the poetry written in extinct languages ; 
yet it is not to be inferred that such improvement 
of taste is equivalent in value to an acquaintance 
with the laws of health. xYccomplishments, the fine 
arts, helles-lettres^ and all those things which, as wo, 
Bay, constitute tlie efflorescence of civilization, 
Bhould be wholly subordinate to that knowledge 


and discipline in wliicli civilization rests. As they 
occupy the leisure part of life, so should they occupy 
the leisure part of education. 

Recognising thus the true position of aesthetics, 
and holdino; that while the cultivation of them 
should form a part of education from its commence- 
ment, such cultivation should be subsidiary ; we 
have now to inquire what knowledge is of most use 
to this end — what knowledge best fits for this 
remaining sphere of activity. To this question the 
answer is still the same as heretofore. Unexj)ected 
as the assertion may be, it is nevertheless true, that 
the highest Art of every kind is based upon Science 
— that without Science there can be neither perfect 
production nor full appreciation. Science, in that 
limited technical acceptation current in society, 
may not have been possessed by many artists of 
high repute ; but acute observers as they have 
been, they have always possessed a stock of those 
empirical generalizations which constitute science 
in its lowest phase ; and they have habitually fallen 
far below perfection, partly because their generali- 
zations were comparatively few and inaccurate. 
That science necessarily underlies the fine arts, be- 
comes manifest, d priori, when we remember that 
art-products are all more or less representative of 
objective or subjective phenomena ; that they can 
be true only in proportion as they conform to the 
laws of these phenomena ; and that before they can 
thus conform the artist must know what these laws 


are. Tliat this a priori conclusion tallies with ex- 
perience we shall soon see. 

Youths preparing for the practice of sculpture, 
have to acquaint themselves with the bones and 
muscles of the human frame in tlieir distribution, 
attachments, and movements. This is a portion 
of science ; and it has been found needful to impart 
it for the prevention of those many errors which 
sculptors who do not possess it commit. For the 
prevention of other mistakes, a knowledge of mechan- 
ical principles is requisite ; and such knowledge not 
being usually possessed, grave mechanical mistakes 
are frequently made. Take an instance. For the 
stability of a figure it is needful that the perpen- 
dicular from the centre of gravity — " the line of 
direction," as it is called — should fall within the 
base of support ; and hence it happens, that when 
a man assumes the attitude known as " standing at 
ease," in which one leg is straightened and the 
other relaxed, the line of direction falls within the 
foot of the straightened leg. But sculptors unfa- 
miliar with the theory of e(piilil)rium, not un- 
commonly so represent this attitude, that the line 
of direction falls midway between the feet. Igno- 
rance of the laws of momentum leads to analogous 
errors : as witness the admired Discobolus, which, 
as it is posed, must inevitably fall forward the 
moment the quoit is delivered. 

In painting, the necessity for scientific knowl- 
edge, empirical if not rational, is still more con- 
spicuous. In what consists the grotesqueness of 


Chinese pictures, unless in tlieir utter disregard of 
the laws of appearances — in their absurd linear 
perspective, and tlieir want of aerial perspective ? 
In what are the drawings of a child so faulty, if not 
in a similar absence of truth — an absence arising, 
in great part, from ignorance of the way in which 
the aspects of things vary with the conditions ? 
Do but remember tlie books and lectures by which 
students are instructed ; or consider the criticisms 
of Ruskin ; or look at the doings of the Pre- 
Raffaelites ; and you wall see that progress in 
painting implies increasing knowledge of how 
effects in ^Nature are produced, Tlie most diligent 
observation, if not aided by science, fails to preserve 
from error. Every painter will indorse the asser- 
tion that unless it is known what appearances must 
exist under given circumstances, they often will not 
be perceived ; and to know what appearances must 
exist, is, in so far, to understand the science of 
appearances. From want of science Mr. J. Lewis^ 
careful painter as he is, casts the shadow of a lattice- 
window in sharply-defined lines upon an opposite 
wall ; which he would not have done, had he been 
familiar with the phenomena of penumbrse. From 
want of science, Mr. Rosetti, catching sight of a 
peculiar ii-idescence displayed by certain hairy 
surfaces under particular lights (an iridescence 
caused by the diflraction of light in passing the 
hairs), commits the error of showing this iridescence 
on surfaces and in positions where it could not 


To say tliat music, too, lias need of scientific aid 
will seem still more surprising. Yet it is demon- 
straLle that nnisic is but an idealization of the nat- 
ural language of emotion ; and that consequently, 
music must be good or bad according as it conforms 
to the laws of this natural language. The various 
inflections of voice which accompany feelings of 
different kinds and intensities, have been shown to 
be the germs out of which music is developed. It 
has been further shown, that these inflections and 
cadences are not accidental or arbitrary ; but that 
they are determined by certain general principles 
of vital action ; and that their expressiveness de- 
pends on this. Whence it follows that musical 
phrases and the melodies built of them, can be ef- 
fective only when they are in harmony with these 
general principles. It is difficult here properly to 
illustrate this position. But perhaps it will suffice 
to instance the swarms of worthless ballads that in- 
fest drawing-rooms, as compositions which science 
would forbid. They sin against science by setting 
to music ideas that are not emotional enough to 
prompt musical expression ; and they also sin 
against science by using musical phrases that have 
no natural relation to the ideas expressed : even 
where these are emotional. Thej are bad because 
they are untrue. And to say they are untrue, is to 
say they are unscientific. 

Even in poetry the same thing holds. Like 
music, poetry has its root in those natural modes of 
expression which accompany deep feeling. Its 



rliytlim, its strong and numerous metaphors, its hy- 
perboles, its violent inversions, are simply exaggera- 
tions of the traits of excited speech. To be good, 
therefore, poetry must pay respect to those laws of 
nervous action which excited speech obeys. In in* 
tensifying and combining the traits of excited speech, 
it must have due regard to proportion — must not 
use its appliances without restriction ; but, where 
the ideas are least emotional, must use the forms of 
poetical expression sparingly ; must use them more 
freely as the emotion rises ; and must carry them 
all to their greatest extent only where the emotion 
reaches a climax. Tlie entire contravention of these 
principles results in bombast or doggerel. Tlie in- 
sufficient respect for them is seen in didactic poetry. 
And it is because they are rarely fully obeyed, that 
w^e have so much poetry that is inartistic. 

Not only is it that the artist, of whatever kind, 
cannot produce a truthful work without he under- 
stands the laws of the phenomena he represents ; 
but it is that he must also understand how the 
minds of sj^ectators or listeners will be affected by 
the several peculiarities of his work — a question in 
psychology. What impression any given art-prod- 
uct generates, manifestly depends upon the mental 
natures of those to whom it is presented ; and as all 
mental natures have certain general principles in 
common, tliere must result certain corresponding 
general principles on which alone art-products can 
be successfully framed. These general principles 
cannot be fully understood and applied, unless tha 


artist sees liow they follow from tlie laws of mind. 
To ask w^lietlier the composition of a picture is good, 
is reallj to ask how the perceptions and feelings of 
observers will be affected bv it. To ask whether a 
drama is well constructed, is to ask whether its sit- 
uations are so arranged as duly to consult the power 
of attention of an audience, and duly to avoid over- 
taxing any one class of feelings. Equally in arrang- 
ing the leading divisions of a poem or fiction, and 
in combining the words of a single sentence, the 
goodness of the effect depends upon the skill with 
which the mental energies and susceptibilities of 
the reader are economized. Every artist-, in the 
course of his education and after-life, accumulates a 
stock of maxims by which his practice is regulated. 
Trace such maxims to their roots, and you find they 
inevitably lead you down to psychological princi- 
ples. And only when the artist rationally under- 
stands these psychological principles and their va- 
rious corollaries, ' can he work in harmony with 

We do not for a moment believe that science 
will make an artist. While we contend that the 
leading laws both of objective and subjective phe- 
nomena must be understood by him, we by no 
means contend that knowledge of such laws will 
serve in place of natural perception. Not only tlie 
poet, but also the artist of every type, is born, not 
made. AVhat we assert is, that innate faculty alone 
will not suffice ; but must have the aid of organized 
knowledge. Intuition will do much, but it will not 


do all. Only when Genius is married to Science 
can the highest results be produced. 

As we have above asserted, Science is necessary 
not only for the most successful production, but 
also for the full appreciation of the fine arts. In 
what consists the greater ability of a man than of 
a child to perceive the beauties of a picture ; unless 
it is in his more extended knowledge of those truths 
in nature or life which the picture renders ? How 
happens the cultivated gentleman to enjoy a fine 
poem so much more than a boor does ; if it is not 
because his wider acquaintance with objects and ac- 
tions enables him to see in the poem much that the 
boor cannot see ? And if, as is here so obvious, 
there must be some familiarity with the things rep- 
resented, before the representation can be appreci- 
ated ; then the representation can be completely 
appreciated, only in proportion as the things repre- 
sented are completely understood. The fact is, that 
every additional truth which a work of art express- 
es, gives an additional pleasure to the percipient 
mind — a pleasure that is missed by those ignorant 
of this truth. The more realities an artist indicates 
in any given amount of work, the more faculties 
does he appeal to ; the more numerous associated 
ideas does he suggest ; the more gratification does 
he aftord. But to receive this gratification the 
spectator, listener, or reader, must know the reali- 
ties whicli the artist has indicated ; and to know 
these realities is to know so much science. 

And now let us not overlook the further great 


fact, that not only docs science underlie sculpture, 
painting, music, poetry, but that science is itself . 
poetic. Tlie current opinion that science and poet- 
ry are opjiosed is a delusion. It is doubtless true 
that as states of consciousness, cognition and emo- 
tion tend to exclude each other. And it is doubt- 
less also true that an extreme activity of the reflect- 
ive powers tends to deaden the feelings ; while an 
extreme activity of the feelings tends to deaden the 
reflective powers : in which sense, indeed, all orders 
of activity are antagonistic to each other. But it 
is not true that the facts of science are unpoetical ; 
or that the cultivation of science is necessarily un- 
friendly to the exercise of imagination or the love 
of the beautiful. On the contrary science opens up 
realms of poetry where to the unscientific all is a 
blank. Those engaged in scientific researches con- 
stantly show us that they realize not less vividly, 
but more \'4vidly, than others, the poetry of their 
subjects. Whoever will dip into Hugh Miller's 
works on geology, or read Mr. LeM'es's " Seaside 
Studies," will perceive that science excites poetry 
rather than extinguishes it. And whoever will con- 
template the life of Goethe will see that the poet 
and the man of science can co-exist in equal activi- 
ty. Is it not, indeed, an absurd and almost a sacri- 
legious belief that the more a man studies Nature 
the less he reveres it ? Think you that a drop of 
water, which to the vulgar eye is but a drop of 
water, loses anything in the eye of the physicist 
who knows that its elements are held together by a 


force which, if suddenly liberated, would produce a 
flasli of lightning ? Think you that what is care- 
lessly looked upon by the uninitiated as a mere 
snow-flake, does not suggest higher associations to 
one who has seen through a microscope the won- 
drously varied and elegant forms of snow-crystals ? 
Tliink you that the rounded rock marked with par- 
allel scratches calls up as much poetry in an igno- 
rant mind as in the mind of a geologist, who knows 
that over this rock a glacier slid a million years 
ago ? The truth is, that those who have never en- 
tered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of 
the poetry by which they are surrounded. Who- 
ever has not in youth collected plants and insects, 
knows not half the halo of interest which lanes and 
hedge-rows can assume. Whoever has not sought 
for fossils, has little idea of the poetical associations 
that surround the places where imbedded treasures 
were found. Whoever at the seaside has not had a 
microscope and aquarium, has yet to learn what 
the highest jjleasures of the seaside are. Sad, in- 
deed, is it to see how men occupy themselves with 
trivialities, and are indiiferent to the grandest phe- 
nomena — care not to understand the architecture of 
the Heavens, but are deeply interested in some con- 
temptible controversy about the intrigues of Mary 
Queen of Scots ! — are learnedly critical over a 
Greek ode, and pass by without a glance that grand 
epic written by the finger of God uiDon the strata of 
the Earth ! 

We find, then, that even for this remaining di' 


vision of human activities, scientific culture is the 
1^ roper preparation. Wo find that aesthetics in gen- 
eral are necessarily based upon scientific principles ; 
nnd can be pursued with complete success only, 
tlirouijh an acquaintance with these principles. We 
find that for the criticism and due appreciation of 
works of art, a knowledge of the constitution of 
things, or in other words, a knowledge of science, is 
requisite. And we not only find that science is the 
handmaid to all forms of art and poetry, but that, 
rightly regarded, science is itself poetic. 

Tlius far our question has been, the worth of 
knowledge of this or that kind for purposes of guid- 
ance. AVe have now to judge the relative values 
of different kinds of knowledge for purposes of 
discipline. This division of our subject we are 
obliged to treat with comparative brevity ; and 
happily, no very lengthened treatment of it is need- 
ed. Having found what is best for the one end, we 
have by implication found what is best for the other. 
We may be quite sure that the acquirement of those 
classes of facts which are most useful for regulating 
conduct, involves a mental exercise best fitted for 
strengthening the faculties. It would be utterly 
contrary to the beautiful economy of Nature, if one 
kind of culture were needed for tlie gaining of in- 
formation and another kind were needed as a men- 
tal gymnastic. Everywhere throughout creation 
we find faculties developed through the performance 
of those functions which it is their office to per- 


form ; not through the performance of artificial ex- 
ercises devised to fit them for these functions. The 
Red Indian acquires the swiftness and agility which 
make him a successful hunter, by the actual pursuit 
of animals ; and by the miscellaneous activities of 
his life, he gains a better balance of physical powers 
than gymnastics ever give. Tluxt skill in tracking 
enemies and prey which he has reached by long 
practice, implies a subtlety of perception far exceed- 
ing anything produced by artificial training. And 
similarly throughout. From the Bushman, whose 
eye, wliicli being habitually employed in identify- 
ing distant objects that are to be pursued or fled 
from, has acquired a quite telescopic range, to the 
accountant whose daily practice enables him to add 
up several columns of figures simultaneously, we 
find that the highest power of a faculty "results from 
the discharge of those duties wdiich the conditions 
of life require it to discharge. And we may be 
certain, d priori, that the same law holds through- 
out education. The education of most value for 
guidance, must at the same time be the education 
of most value for discipline. Let us consider the 

One advantage claimed for that devotion to 
language-learning which forms so prominent a 
feature in the ordinary curric^/him, is, that the 
memory is thereby strengthened. And it is ap- 
parently assumed that this is an advantage peculiar 
to the study of words. But the truth is, that the 
sciences afi'ord far wider fields for the exercise of 

8G ^v^AT knowledge is of most avoktii ? 

memory. It is no sliglit task to remember all tlic 
facts ascertained respcctini; onr solar system ; nuich 
more to remember all that is known concerning the 
structure of our galaxy. The new compounds 
which chemistry daily accumulates, are so numer- 
ous that few, save professors, know the names of 
them all ; and to recollect the atomic constitutions 
and affinities of all these compounds, is scarcely 
possible without making chemistry the occupation 
of life. In the enormous mass of phenomena pre- 
sented by the Earth's crust, and in the still more 
enormous mass of phenomena presented by the 
fossils it contains, there is matter which it takes the 
geological student years of ai)plication to master. 
In each leading division of physics — sound, heat, 
light, electricity — the facts are numerous enough 
to alarm any one proposing to leani them all. 
And when we pass to the organic sciences, the effort 
of memory required becomes still greater. In hu- 
man anatomy alone, the quantity of detail is so 
great, that the young surgeon has commonly to get 
it up half-a-dozen times before he can permanently 
retain it. The number of species of plants which 
botanists distinguish, amounts to some 320,000 ; 
while the varied forms of animal life with which the 
zoologist deals, are estimated at some two millions. 
So vast is the accumulation of facts which men of 
science have before them, that only by dividing 
and subdividing their labours can they deal witli 
it. To a complete knowledge of his own division, 
each adds but a general knowledge of the rest. 


Surely, tlien, science, cultivated even to a very 
moderate extent, affords adequate exercise for 
memory. To say tlie very least, it involves quite 
as good a training for this faculty as language does. 
But now mark that while for the training of 
mere memory, science is as good as, if not better 
than, language ; it has an immense superiority in 
the kind of memory it cultivates. In the acquire- 
ment of a language, the connexions of ideas to he 
established in the mind correspond to facts that are 
in great measure accidental ; whereas, in the ac- 
quirement of science, the connexions of ideas to lie 
established in the mind correspond to facts that arc 
mostly necessary. It is true that the relations of 
words to their meaning is in one sense natural, and 
that the genesis of these relations may be traced 
back a certain distance ; though very rarely to 
the beginning ; (to which let us add the remark 
that the law^s of this genesis form a branch of mental 
science — the science of philology.) But since it 
will not be contended that in the acquisition of 
languages, as ordinarily carried on, these natural 
relations between words and their meanings are 
habitually traced, and the laws regulating them 
explained ; it must be admitted that they are com- 
monly learned as fortuitous relations. On the othef 
hand, the relations which science presents are causal 
relations ; and, when properly taught, are under- 
stood as such. Instead of being practically acci- 
dental, they are necessary ; and as such, give exer- 
cise to the reasoning faculties. While language 


familiarizes with non-rational relations, science fa- 
miliarizes with rational relations. AVhile the one 
exercises memory only, the other exercises both 
memory and understanding. 

Observe next that a great snperiority of science 
over language as a means of discipline, is, that it 
cultivates the judgment. As, in a lecture on mental 
education delivered at the Eoyal Institution, Pro- 
fessor Faraday well remarks, the most common 
intellectual fault is deficiency of judgment. He 
contends that " society, speaking generally, is not 
only ignorant as respects education of the judgment, 
but it is also ignorant of its ignorance." And the 
cause to which he ascribes this state is want of 
scientific culture. The truth of his conclusion is 
obvious. Correct judgment with regard to all 
surrounding things, events, and consequences, be- 
comes possible only through knowledge of the way 
in which surroundiTig phenomena depend on each 
other. Ko extent of acquaintance with the mean- 
ings of words, can give the power of forming correct 
inferences respecting causes and effects. Tlie con- 
stant habit of drawing conclusions from data, and 
then of verifying those conclusions by observation 
and experiment, can alone give the power of judg- 
ing correctl}". And that it necessitates this habit is 
one of the immense advantages of science. 

Not only, however, for intellectual discipline is 
science the best ; but also for vioral discipline. 
The learning of languages tends, if anything, further 
to increase the already undue respect for authority. 


Such and such are the meanings of these words, 
says the teacher or the dictionary. So and so is 
the rule in this case, says the grammar. By the 
pupil these dicta are received as unquestionable. 
His constant attitude of mind is that of submission 
to dogmatic teaching. And a necessary result is a 
tendency to accept without inquiry whatever is 
established. Quite opposite is the attitude of min^ 
generated by tlie cultivation of science. By science, 
constant appeal is made to individual reason. Its 
truths are not accepted upon authority alone ; but 
all are at liberty to test them — ^nay, in many cases, 
the pupil is required to think out his own conclu- 
sions. Every step in a scientific investigation is sub- 
mitted to his judgment. He is not asked io admit 
it without seeing it to be true. And the trust in 
his own powers thus produced, is further increased 
by the constancy with which Xature justifies his 
conclusions when they are correctly drawn. From 
all which there flows that independence which is a 
most valuable element in character. !N^or is this 
the only moral benefit bequeathed by scientific 
culture. "When carried on, as it should always be, 
as much as possible under the form of independent 
research, it exercises perseverance and sincerity. 
As says Professor Tyudall of inductive inquiry, " it 
requires patient industry, and an humble and con- 
scientious acceptance of what Xature reveals. The 
first condition of success is an honest receptivity 
and a willingness to abandon all preconceived 
notions, however cherished, if they be found to 


contradict the tnitli. Believe me, a self-renuncia- 
tion which has something noble in it, and of which 
the world never liears, is often enacted in the pi-ivate 
experience of the true votary of science." 

Lastly we have to assert — and the assertion will, 
we doubt not, cause extreme surprise — that the 
discipline of science is superior to that of our ordi- 
nary education, because of the 7'eligicnis culture that 
it gives. Of course we do not here use the words 
scientific and religious in their ordinary limited 
acceptations ; but in their widest and highest ac- 
ceptations. Doubtless, to the superstitions that 
pass under the name of religion, science is antago- 
nistic ; but not to the essential religion which these 
superstitions merely hide. Doubtless, too, in mucli 
of the science that is current, there is a pervading 
spirit of irreligion ; but not in that true science 
whicli has passed beyond the superficial into the 

" True science and true religion," says Professor Iluxley 
at the close of a recent course of lectures, " are twin-sisters, 
and the separation of either from the otlier is sure to prove 
the death of both. Science prospers exactly in proportion as 
it is I'eligious ; and religion flourishes in exact proportion to 
the scientific depth and firmness of its basis. The great deeds 
of philosophers have been less the fruit of their intellect than 
of the direction of that intellect by an eminently religious tone 
of mind. Truth has yielded herself rather to their patience, 
their love, their single-heartedness, and their self-denial, than 
to their logical acumen." 

So far from science being irreligious, as many 


think, tt is the neglect of science that is irreligious 
— it is the refusal to study the suirounding creation 
that is irreligious. Take a humhle simile. Sup- 
jiose a writer were daily sahited with praises 
couched in superlative language. Suppose the 
wisdom, the grandeur, the beauty of his works, 
were the constant topics of the eulogies addressed 
to him. Suppose those who unceasingly uttered 
these eulogies on his works were content with look- 
ing at the outsides of them ; and had never opened 
them, much less tried to understand them. What 
value should we put upon their praises ? What 
should we think of their sincerity ? Yet, compar- 
ing small things to great, such is the conduct of 
mankind in general, in reference to the Universe 
and its Cause. Nay, it is worse, l^ot only do they 
pass by without study, these things which they daily 
proclaim to be so wonderful ; but very frequently 
they condemn as mere triflers those who give time 
to the observation of I^ature — they actually scorn 
those who show any active interest in these marvels. 
We repeat, then, that not science, but the neglect 
of science, is irreligious. Devotion to science, is 
a tacit worship — a tacit recognition of worth in the 
things studied ; and by implication in their Cause. 
It is not a mere lip-homage, but a homage ex- 
pressed in actions — not a mere professed respect, 
but a respect proved by the sacrifice of time, thought, 
and labour. 

Nor is it thus only that true science is essentially 
religious. It is religious, too, inasmuch as it geiv 


erates a profound respect for, and an implicit faith 
in, those uniform laws which underlie all things. 
By accumulated experiences the man of science ac- 
quires a thorough belief in the unclianging relations 
of phenomena — in the invariable connexion of cause 
and consequence — in the necessity of good or evil 
results. Instead of the rewards and i)unishments 
of traditional belief, which men vaguely hope they 
may gain, or escape, spite of their disobedience ; 
he finds that there are rewards and punishments in 
the ordained constitution of things, and that the 
evil results of disobedience are inevitable. He sees 
that the laws to which we must submit are not 
only inexorable but beneficent. He sees that in 
virtue of these laws, the process of things is ever 
towards a greater perfection and a higher happiness. 
Hence he is led constantly to insist on these laws, 
and is indignant when men disregard them. And 
thus does he, by asserting the eternal principles 
of things and the necessity of conforming to them, 
prove himself intrinsically religious. 

To all which add the further religious aspect of 
science, that it alone can give us true conceptions 
of ourselves and our relation to the mysteries of 
existence. At the same time that it shows us all 
which can be known, it shows us the limits beyond 
which we can know nothing. Kot by dogmatic 
assertion does it teach the inq)OS6ibility of compre- 
hending the ultimate cause of things ; but it leads 
US clearly to recognise this impossibility by bring- 
ing us in every direction to boundaries we cannot 


cross. It realizes to us in a vraj wliicli notliing 
else can, the littleness of liuman intelligence in the 
face of that which transcends human intelligence. 
"While towards the traditions and authorities of men 
its attitude may be proud, before the impenetrable 
veil which hides the Absolute its attitude is humble 
— a true pride and a true humility. Only the sin- 
cere man of science (and by this title we do not 
mean the mere calculator of distances, or analyser 
of compounds, or labeller of species ; but him who 
through lower truths seeks higher, and eventually 
the highest) — only the genuine man of science, we 
say, can truly know how utterly beyond, not only 
liuman knowledge, but human conception, is the 
Universal Power of which ISTature, and Life, and 
Thought are manifestations. 

We conclude, then, that for discipline, as well 
as for guidance, science is of chiefest value. In 
all its eifects, learning the meanings of things, 
is better than learning the meanings of words. 
Whether for intellectual, moral, or religious train- 
ing, the study of surrounding phenomena is im- 
mensely superior to the study of grammars and 

Tlius to the question with which we set out — • 
What knowledge is of most worth ? — the uniform 
reply is — Science. Tliis is the verdict on all the 
counts. For direct self-preservation, or the main- 
tenance of life and health, the all-important knowl- 
edge is — Science. For that indirect self-preservation 


wliicli wo call gaming a livcliliood, tlic knowledge 
of greatest value is — Scienee. For the due dis- 
charge of parental fimctions, the proper guidance 
is to be found only in — Science, For that interpre- 
tation of national life, past and present, without 
which the citizen cannot rightly regulate his con- 
duct, the indispensable key is — Science. Alike for 
the most perfect production and highest enjoy- 
ment of art in all its forms, the needful preparation 
is still — Science. And for purposes of discipline 
— intellectual, moral, religious — the most efficient 
study is, once more — Science. The question which 
at first seemed so perplexed, has become, in the 
course of our inquiry, comparatively simple. We 
have not to estimate the degrees of importance of 
different orders of human activity, and different 
studies as severally fitting us for them ; since we 
find that the study of Science, in its . most compre- 
hensive meaning, is the best preparation for all 
these orders of activity. We have not to decide 
between the claims of knowledge of great though 
conventional value, and knowledge of less though 
intrinsic value ; seeing that the knowledge which 
we find to be of most value in all other respects, is 
intrinsically most valuable : its worth is not de- 
pendent u})on opinion, but is as fixed as is the rela- 
tion of man to the surrounding world. Necessary 
and eternal as are its truths, all Science concerns 
all numkind for all time. Equally at present, and 
in the remotest future, must it be of incalculable 
importance for the regulation of their conduct, that 


men should understand the science of life, physical, 
mental, and social ; and that they should under- 
stand all other science as a key to the science of 

And yet the knowledge which is of such tran- 
scendent value is that which, in our age of boasted 
education, receives the least attention. While this 
which we call civilization could never have arisen 
had it not been for science ; science forms scarcely 
an a})preciable element in what men consider civi- 
lized training. Though to the progress of science 
we owe it, that millions find support where once 
there was food only for thousands ; yet of these 
millions but a few thousands pay any respect to 
that which has made their existence possible. 
Though this increasing knowledge of the proper- 
ties and relations of things has not only enabled 
wandering tribes to grow into pojDulous nations, 
but has given to the countless members of those 
populous nations comforts and pleasures which their 
few naked ancestors never even conceived, or could 
have believed, yet is this kind of knowledge only 
now receiving a grudging recognition in our highest 
educational institutions. To the slowly growing 
acquaintance with the uniform co-existences and 
sequences of phenomena — to the establishment of 
invariable laws, we owe our emancipation from the 
grossest superstitions. But for science we should be 
still worshipping fetishes ; or, with hecatombs of 
victims, propitiating diabolical deities. And yet 
this science, wdiich, in place of the most degrading 


conceptions of tilings, lias given us some insight 
into the grandeurs of creation, is written against in 
our theologies and frowned upon from our pulpits. 
Paraphrasing an Eastern fable, we may say that 
in the family of knowledges, Science is the house- 
hold drudge, who, in obscurity, hides unrecognised 
perfections. To her has been committed all the 
work ; by her skill, intelligence, and devotion, have 
all the conveniences and gratifications been ob- 
tained ; and while ceaselessly occupied ministering 
to the rest, she has been kept in the background, 
that her haughty sisters might flaunt their fri])- 
peries in the eyes of the world. Tlie parallel holds 
yet further. For we are fast coming to the deiimie- 
ment^ when the positions will be changed ; and 
while these haughty sisters sink into merited neg- 
lect, Science, proclaimed as highest alike in worth 
and beauty, will reign supreme. 

CHAl^ER n. 


There cannot fail to be a relationship between 
the successive systems of education, and the suc- 
eessiv^e social states with which they have co-existed. 
Having a common origin in the national mind, the 
institutions of each epoch, whatever be their gpecial 
functions, must have a family likeness. When men 
received their creed and its interpretations from an 
infallible authority deigning no explanations, it was 
natural that the teaching of children should be 
purely dogmatic. While " believe and ask no 
questions " was the maxim of the Church, it was fitly 
the maxim of the school. Conversely, now that 
Protestantism has gained for adults a right of 
private judgment and established the practice of 
appealing to reason, there is harmony in the change 
that has made juvenile instruction a process of ex- 
position addressed to the understanding. Along 
with j)olitical despotism, stern in its commands, 
ruling by force of terror, visiting trifling crimes 
with death, and implacable in its vengeance on the 
disloyal, there necessarily grew up an academic 
discipline similarly harsh — a discipline of multiplied 
injunctions and blows for every breach of them — a 


discipline of unlimited autocracy iijjlickl by rods, 
and ferules, and the black-hole. On the other hand, 
the increase of political liberty, the abolition ot 
law restricting individual action, and the ameliora- 
tion of the criminal code, have been accompanied 
by a kindred progress towards non-coercive educa- 
tion : the pupil is hampered by fewer restraints, 
and other means than punishments are used to gov- 
ern him. In those ascetic days when men, acting 
on the greatest misery principle, held that the more 
gratifications they denied themselves the more vir- 
tuous they were, they, as a matter of course, con- 
sidered that the best education which most thwarted 
the wishes of their children, and cut short all spon- 
taneous activity with — " You mustn't do so." 
While on the contrary, now that happiness is com- 
ing to be regarded as a legitimate aim — now that 
hours of labour are being shortened and popular 
recreations provided, parents and teachers are be- 
ginning to see that most childish desires may 
rightly be gratified, that childish sports should be 
encouraged, and that the tendencies of the growing 
mind are not altogether so diabolical as was sup- 
posed. The age in which all thought that trades 
nmst be established by bounties and prohibitions ; 
that manufacturers needed their materials and quali- 
ties and prices to be prescribed ; and that the value 
of money could be determined by law ; was an 
age which unavoidably cherished the notions that 
a child's- mind could be made to order ; that its 
powers were to be imparted by the schoolmaster • 




tliat it was a receptacle into wliicli knowledge was 
to l)e put and there built up after its teacher's ideal. 
In this free-trade era, however, when we are learn- 
ing that there is much more self- regul ation in things 
tlian was supposed ; that labour, and commerce, 
and agriculture, and navigation can do better with- 
out management than with it ; that political gov- 
ernments, to be efficient, must grow up from within 
and not be imposed from without ; we are also 
beginnng to see that there is a natnral process of 
mental evolution which is not to be disturbed 
without injury ; that we may not force on the un- 
folding mind our artificial forms ; but that Psy- 
chology, also, discloses to us a law of supply and 
demand, to which, if we would not do harm, we 
must conform. Thus alike in its oracular dogma- 
tism, in its harsh discipline, in its multiplied restric- 
tions, in its professed asceticism, and in its faith in 
the devices of men, the old educational regime was 
akin to the social systems with which it was con- 
temporaneous ; and similarly, in the reverse of these 
characteristics our luodern modes of culture corre- 
spond to our more liberal religious and political 

But there remain further parallelisms to which 
we have not yet adverted : that, namely, between 
the j)i'Ocesses by which these respective changes 
have been wrought out ; and that between the 
several states of heterogeneous opinion to which 
they have led. Some centuries ago there was 
Uniformity of belief — religious, political, and edu' 


cational. All men -were llomanists, all were 
Monarchists, all were disciples of Aristotle, and r.o 
one thonglit of calling in question that grammar- 
school routine nnder which all were brought up, 
Tlie same agency has in each case replaced this 
uniformity by a constantly increasing diversity. 
Tliat tendency towards assertion of the individuality, 
which, after contributing to produce the great 
Protestant movement, has since gone on to produce 
an ever-increasing number of sects — that tendency 
which initiated political parties, and out of the two 
primary ones has, in these modern days, evolved a 
multiplicity to which every year adds — that ten- 
dency which led to the Baconian rebellion against 
the schools, and has since originated here and 
abroad sundry new systems of thought — is a ten- 
dency which, in education also, has caused division 
and the accumulation of methods. As external 
consequences of the same internal change, these 
processes have necessarily been more or less simul- 
taneous. Tlie decline of authority, whether papal, 
philosophic, kingly, or tutorial, is essentially one 
phenomenon ; in each of its aspects a leaning tow- 
ards free action is seen alike in the working out of 
the change itself, and in the new forms of theory 
and practice to which the change has given birth. 

While many will regret this multiplication of 
schemes of juvenile culture, the catholic observer 
will discern in it a means of ensuring the final estab- 
lisliment of a rational system. Whatever may bo 
thought of theological dissent, it is clear that dissent 


in education results in facilitating inquiry by tlie 
division in labour. Were we in possession of tlio 
true method, divergence from it would, of course, 
be prejudicial ; but the true method having to be 
found, the efforts of numerous independent seekers 
carrying out their researches in different directions, 
constitute a better agency for finding it than any 
that could be devised. Each of them struck by 
some new thought which probably contains more 
or less of basis in facts — each of them zealous on 
behalf of his plan, fertile in expedients to test 
its correctness, and untiring in his efforts to make 
known its success — each of them merciless in his 
criticism on the rest — there cannot fail, by composi- 
tion of forces, to be a gradual approximation of all 
towards the right course. Whatever portion of the 
normal method any one of them has discovered, 
must, by the constant exhibition of its results, force 
itself into adoption ; whatever wrong practices he 
has joined with it must, by rej)eated experiment and 
failure, be exploded. And by this aggregation of 
truths and elimination of errors, there must eventu- 
ally be developed a correct and complete body of 
doctrine. Of the three phases through which human 
opinion passes — the unanimity of the ignorant, the 
disagreement of the inquiring, and the unanimity of 
the wise — it is manifest that the second is the parent 
of the third. They are not sequences in time only ; 
they are sequences in causation. However impa* 
tiently, therefore, we may witness the present con- 
flict of educational systems, and however much we 


may regret its accompanying evils, we must recog* 
nise it as a transition stage needful to be passed 
tlirougli, and beneficent in its ultimate efi'ects. 

Meanwhile may we not advantageously take 
stock of our progress ? After fifty years of discus- 
sion, experiment, and comparison of results, may 
W3 not expect a few steps towards the goal to be 
already made good ? Some old methods must by 
this time have fallen out of use ; some new ones 
must have become established ; and many others 
must be in process of general abandonment or 
adoption. Probably we may see in these various 
changes, when put side by side, similar characteris- 
tics — may find in them a common tendency ; and 
so, by inference, may get a clue to the direction in 
which experience is leading us, and gather hints 
bow we may achieve yet further improvements. 
Let us then, as a preliminary to a deeper considera- 
tion of the matter, glance at the leading contrasts 
between the education of the past and of the present. 

Tlie suppression of every error is commonly 
followed by a temporary ascendency of the contrary 
one ; and it so happened, that after the ages when 
physical development alone was aimed at^ there 
came an age when culture of the mind was the.sole 
solicitude — when children had lesson-books put be- 
fore them at between two and three years old — when 
school-hours were protracted, and the getting of 
knowledire was thoui^ht the one thini):: needful. As, 
further, it usually happens, that after one of these 
reactions the next advance is acliieved by co-ordi- 


hfl,tiHg the antagonist errors, and perceiving that they 
are opposite sides of one truth ; so we are now com- 
ing to the conviction that body and mind must both 
be cared for, and the whole being unfolded. Tlie 
forcing system has been in great measure given np, 
and precocity is discouraged. People are begimiing 
to see that the lirst requisite to success in life, is to 
be a good animal. The best brain is found of little 
service, if there be not enough vital energy to work 
it ; and hence to obtain the one by sacrificing the 
source of the other, is now considered a folly — a 
folly which the eventual failure of juvenile prodigies 
constantly illustrates. Thus we are discovering the 
wisdom of the saying, that one secret in education 
is " to know how wisely to lose time." 

The once universal practice of learning by rote, 
is daily falling more into discredit. All modern 
authorities condemn the old mechanical way of 
teaching the alphabet. The multiplication table is 
now frequently taught experimentally. In the ac- 
quirement of languages, the grammar-school plan 
is being superseded by plans based on the spontane- 
ous process followed by the child in gaining its 
mother tongue. Describing the methods there used, 
the " Reports on the Training School at Battersea " 
say : — " The instruction in the whole preparatory 
course is chiefly oral, and is illustrated as much as 
possible by appeals to nature." And so throughout. 
The rote-system, like other systems of its age, made 
more of the forms and symbols than of the things 
symbolized. To repeat the words correctly wa«» 


everything; to understand tlieir meaning nothing! 
and thus the si)irit was sacrificed to the letter. It 
is at length perceived, that in this case as in others, 
such a result is not accidental but necessary — that 
in proportion as there is attention to the signs, there 
must be inattention to the things signified ; or that, 
as Montaigne long ago said — Scavoir jpar ccBur rCest 
pas sgavoir. 

Along with rote-teaching, is declining also the 
nearly allied teaching by rules. The particulars 
first, and then the generalization, is the new method 
— a method, as the Battersea School Keports re- 
mark, which, though " the reverse of the method 
usually followed which consists in giving the pupil 
the rule first," is yet proved by experience to be 
the right one. Itule-teaching is now condemned as 
imparting a merely empirical knowledge — as pro- 
ducing an appearance of understanding without the 
reality. To give the net product of inquiry, with- 
out the inquiry that leads to it, is fonnd to be both 
enervating and inefficient. General truths to be of 
due and permanent use, must be earned. " Easy 
come easy go," is a saying as applicable to knowl- 
edge as to wealth. While rules, lying isolated in 
the mind — not joined to its otlier contents as out- 
growths from them — are continually forgotten, the 
principles which those rules express piecemeal, be- 
come, when once reached by the understanding, 
enduring possessions. While the rule-taught youth 
is at sea when beyond his rules, the youth instructed 
in principles solves a new case as readily as an old 


one. Between a mind of rules and a mind of prin- 
ciples, there exists a difference snch as that between 
a confused heap of materials, and the same materials 
organized into a complete whole, with all it^ parts 
bound together. Of which types this last has not 
onlj the advantage that its constituent parts are 
better retained, but the much greater advantage, 
that it forms an efficient agent for inquiry, for inde^ 
pendent thought, for discovery — ends for which the 
first is useless. Xor let it be supposed that this is 
a simile only : it is the literal truth. The union of 
facts into generalizations I's the organization of 
knowledge, whether considered as an objective phe- 
nomenon, or a subjective one : and the mental grasp 
may be measured by the extent to which this or- 
ganization is carried. 

From the substitution of principles for rules, and 
the necessarily co-ordinate practice of leaving ab- 
stractions untaught until the mind has been famil- 
iarized with the facts from which they are ab- 
stracted, has resulted the postponement of some once 
early studies to a late period. Tliis is exemplified 
in the abandonment of that intensely stupid custom, 
the teaching of grammar to children. As M. Mar- 
cel says : — " It may without hesitation be affirmed 
that grammar is not the stepping-stone, but the 
finishing instrument." As Mr. Wyse argues : — 
" Grammar and Syntax are a collection of laws and 
rules. Rules are gathered from practice ; they are 
the results of induction to which we come by long 
observation and compai'ison of facts. It is, in fine, 


tlie science, the philosophy of language. In follow- 
ing the process of nature, neither individuals nor 
nations ever arrive at the science ^Vs^. A language 
is spoken, and poetry written, many years before 
either a grammar or prosody is even thought of. 
Men did not wait till Aristotle had constructed his 
logic, to reason. In short, as grammar was made 
after language, so ought it to be taught after lan- 
guage : an inference which all who recognise the 
relationship between the evolution of the race and of 
the individual, will see to be unavoidable. 

Of new practices that have grown up during the 
decline of these old ones, the most important is the 
systematic culture of the powers of observation. 
After long ages of blindness men are at last seeing 
that the spontaneous activity of the observing fac- 
ulties in children has a meaning and a use. What 
was once thought mere purposeless action, or play, 
or mischief, as the case might be, is now recog- 
nised as the process of acquiring a knowledge on 
which all after-knowledge is based. Hence the 
well-conceived but ill-conducted system of ohject- 
Icssons. Tlie saying of Bacon, that physics is the 
mother of sciences, has come to have a meaning 
in education. Without an accurate acquaintance 
with the visible and tangible properties of things, 
our conceptions must be erroneous, our inferences 
fallacious, and our operations unsuccessful. " The 
education of the senses neglected, all after education 
partakes of a drowsiness, a haziness, an insufficiency 
which it is impossible to cure." Indeed, if we con- 



sider it, we shall find tliat exliaiistive observation is 
an element in all great success. It is not to artists, 
naturalists, and men of science only, that it is need- 
ful ; it is not only that the skilful physician depends 
on it for the correctness of his diagnosis, and that 
to the good engineer it is so important that some 
years in the workshop are prescribed for him ; but 
we may see that the philosopher also is fundamen- 
tally one who observes relationships of things which 
others had overlooked, and that the poet, too, is one 
who sees the fine facts in nature which all recognise 
when pointed out, but did not before remark. Noth- 
ing requires more to be insisted on than that vivid 
and complete impressions are all essential. No 
sound fabric of wisdom can be woven out of a rot- 
ten raw-material. 

While the old method of presenting truths in 
the abstract has been falling out of use, there has 
been a corresponding adoption of the new method 
of presenting them in the concrete. Tlie rudimen- 
tary facts of exact science are now being learnt by 
direct intuition, as textures, and tastes, and colours 
are learnt. Employing the ball-frame for first les- 
sons in arithmetic exemplifies this. It is well illus- 
trated, too, in Professor De Morgan's mode of ex- 
plaining the decimal notation. M. Marcel, rightly 
repudiating the old system of tables, teaches weiglits 
and measures by referring to the actual yard and 
foot, pound and ounce, gallon and quart ; and lets 
the discovery of their relationships be experimental. 
The use of geographical models and models of the 


regular bodies, &c. as introductory to geography 
and geometry respectively, are facts of the same 
class. Manifestly a common trait of these methods 
is, that they carry each child's mind through a pro- 
cess like that which the mind of humanity at large 
has gone through. The truths of number, of form, 
of relationship in position, were all originally drawn 
from objects; and to present these truths to the 
child in the concrete is to let him learn them as the 
race learnt them. By and by, perhaps, it will be 
seen that he cannot possibly learn them in any other 
way ; for that if he is made to repeat them as ab- 
stractions, the abstractions can have no meaning for 
him, until he finds that they are simply statements 
of what he intuitively discerns. 

But of all the changes taking place, the most 
significant is the growing desire to make the acquire- 
ment of knowledge pleasurable rather than painful 
— a desire based on the more or less distinct percep- 
tion that at each age the intellectual action which 
a child likes is a healthful one for it ; and con- 
versely. There is a spreading opinion that the rise 
of an appetite for any kind of knowledge implies 
that the unfolding mind has become fit to assimilate 
it, and needs it for the purposes of growth ; and 
that on the other hand, the disgust felt towards any 
kind of knowledge is a sign either that it is prema- 
turely presented, or that it is presented in an indi- 
gestible form. Hence the efforts to make early 
education amusing, and all education interesting. 
Hence the lectures on the value of play. Hence 


the defence of nursery rhymes, and fairy tales. 
Daily we more and more conform our plans to ju- 
venile opinion. Does the child like this or that kind 
of teaching ? does he take to it ? we constantly ask. 
" His natural desire of variety should be indulged," 
says M. Marcel ; " and the gratification of his curi- 
osity should be combined with his improvement." 
" Lessons," he again remarks, " should cease before 
the child evinces symptoms of weariness." And so 
with later education. Short breaks during school- 
hours, excursions into the country, amusing lectures, 
choral songs — in these and many like traits, the 
change may be discerned. Asceticism is disapj)ear- 
ing out of education as out of life ; and the usual 
test of political legislation — its tendency to pi'omote 
happiness — ^is beginning to be, in a great degree, 
the test of legislation for the school and the nursery. 
"What now is the common characteristic of these 
several changes ? Is it not an increasing conformity 
to the methods of nature ? The relinquishment of 
early forcing against which nature ever rebels, and 
the leaving of the iirst years for exercise of the 
limbs and senses, show this. The superseding of 
rote-learnt lessons by lessons orally and experimen- 
tally given, like those of the field and play -ground, 
shows this. The disuse of rule-teaching, and the 
adoption of teaching by principles — that is, the 
leaving of generalizations until there are particulars 
to base them on — show this. The system of object- 
lessons shows this. The teaching of the rudiments 
of science in the concrete instead of the abstract, 


shows tliis. And above all, this tendency is sho^rn 
in the variously directed efibrts to present knowl- 
edge in attractive forms, and so to make the ac- 
quirement of it pleasurable. For as it is the order 
of nature in all creatures that the gratification ac- 
companying the fulfilment of needful functions 
serves as a stimulus to. their fulfilment — as during 
the self-education of the young child, the delight 
taken in the biting of corals, and the pulling to 
pieces of toys, becomes the prompter to actions 
which teach it the properties of matter ; it follows 
that, in choosing the succession of subjects and the 
modes of instruction which most interest the pupil, 
we are fulfilling nature's behests, and adjusting our 
proceedings to the laws of life. 

Thus, then, we are on the highway towards the 
doctrine long ago enunciated by Pestalozzi, that 
alike in its order and its methods, education must 
conform to the natural process of mental evolution 
— that there is a certain sequence in which the facul- 
ties spontaneously develop, and a certain kind of 
knowledge which each requires during its develop- 
ment ; and that it is for us to ascertain this sequence, 
and supply this knowledge. All the improvements 
above alluded to are partial applications of this 
general principle. A nebulous jDerception of it 
now prevails among teachers ; and it is daily more 
insisted on in educational works. " The method of 
nature is the archetype of all methods," says M. 
Marcel. " The vital principle in the pursuit is to 
enable the pupil rightly to instruct himself," writes 


Mr. Wjse. Tlie more science familiarizes us with 
the constitution of things the more do we see in 
them an inherent self-sufficingness. A higher 
knowledge tends continually to limit our interfer-. 
ence with the processes of life. As in medicine tlie 
old " heroic treatment " has given place to mild 
treatment, and often no treatment save a normal re- 
gimen — as we have found that it is not needful to 
mould the bodies of babes by bandaging them in 
papoose fashion or otherwise — as in gaols it is being 
discovered that no cunningly devised discipline of 
ours is so efficient in producing reformation as the 
natural discipline, the making prisoners maintain 
themselves by productive labour ; so in education 
we are finding that success is to be achieved only 
by rendering our measures subservient to that spon- 
taneous unfolding which all minds go through in 
their progress to maturity. 

Of course, this fundamental principle of tuition, 
that the arrangement of matter and method must 
correspond with the order of evolution and mode 
of activity of the faculties — a principle so obviously 
true, that once stated it seems almost self-evident — 
has never been wholly disregarded. Teachers have 
unavoidably made their school-courses coincide with 
it in some degree, for the simple reason that educa- 
tion is possible only on that condition. Boys were 
never taught the rule-of-three until after they had 
learnt addition. Tliey were not set to write exer- 
cises before they had got into their copy-books. 
Conic sections have always been jireceded by Eu- 


did. But the error of the old methods consists in 
tliis, that they do not recofjiiise in detail what they 
are obliged to recognise in the general. Yet the 
principle applies throughout. If from the time 
when a child is aLle to conceive tM'o things as re- 
lated in position, years must elapse before it can 
form a true concept of the earth, as a sphere made 
up of land and sea, covered with mountains, forests, 
rivers, and cities, revolving on its axis, and sweep- 
ing round the sun — if it gets from the one concept 
to the other by degrees — if the intermediate concepts 
which it forms are consecutively larger and more 
complicated ; is it not manifest that there is a gen- 
eral succession through which only it can pass ; 
that each larger concept is made by the combina- 
tion of smaller ones, and presupposes them ; and 
that to present any of these compound concepts be- 
fore the child is in possession of its constituent 
ones, is only less absurd than to present the final 
concept of the series before the initial one ? In the 
mastering of every subject some course of increasing- 
ly complex ideas has to be gone through. Tlie evo- 
lution of the corresponding faculties consists in the 
assimilation of these ; which, in any true sense, is 
impossible without they are put into the mind in 
the normal order. And when this order is not fol- 
lowed, the result is, that they are received with 
apathy or disgust ; and that unless the pupil is in- 
telligent enough to eventually fill uj) the gaps him- 
self, they lie in his memory as dead facts, capable 
of beinof turned to little or no use. 


" But wliy trouble ourselves about any curri- 
culum at all i " it may be asked. " If it be true 
that tlie mind like the body has a predetermined 
course of evolution, — if it unfolds spontaneously — • 
if its successive desires for this or that kind of in- 
formation arise when these are severally required 
for its nutrition, — if there thus exists in itself a 
prompter to the right species of activity at the 
right time ; why interfere in any way ? Why not 
leave children vAolhj to the discipline of nature I — 
why not remain quite passive and let them get 
knowledge as they best can ? — why not be consistent 
throughout ? " Tliis is an awkward looking ques- 
tion. Plausibly implying as it does, that a system 
of complete Zrm'6'<?2;/r«Ve is the logical outcome of 
the doctrines set forth, it seems to furnish a disproof 
of them by reductio ad absurdum. In truth, how- 
ever, they do not, when rightly understood, commit 
us to any such untenable position. A glance at 
the physical analogies will clearly show this. It is 
a general law of all life that the more complex the 
organism to be produced, the longer the period 
during which it is dependent on a parent organism 
for food and protection. Tlio contrast between the 
minute, rapidly-formed, and self-moving spore of a 
conferva, and the slowly developed seed of a tree, 
with its ]nultiplied envelopes and large stock of 
nutriment laid by to nourish the germ during its 
first stages of growth, illustrates this law in its 
application to the vegetable world. Among animal 
organisms we may trace it in a series of coii- 


trasts from the monad whose spontaneously-divided 
halves are as self-sufficing the moment after their 
separation as was the original whole ; np to man, 
whose off'spring not only passes through a protracted 
gestation, and subsequently long depends on the 
breast for sustenance ; but after that must have 
its food artificially administered ; must, after it 
has learned to feed itself, continne to have bread, 
clothing, and shelter provided ; and does not acquire 
the power of complete self-support nntil a time 
varying from fifteen to twenty years after its birth. 
Now this law applies to the mind as to the body. 
For mental pabulum also, every higher creature, 
and especially man, is at first dependent on adult 
aid. Lacking the ability to move about, the babe 
is as powerless to get materials on which to exer- 
cise its perceptions as it is to get sujDplies for its 
stomach. Unable to prepare its own food, it is in 
like manner unable to reduce many kinds of knowl- 
edge to a fit form for assimilation. Tlie language 
through which all higher truths are to be gained it 
wholly derives from those surrounding it. And 
we see in such an example as the Wild Boy of 
Aveyron, the arrest of development that results 
when no help is received from parents and nurses. 
Thus, in providing from day to day the right kind 
of facts, prepared in the right manner, and giving 
them in due abundance at appropriate intervals, 
there is as much scope for active ministration to a 
child's mind as to its body. In either case it is 
the chief function of parents to see that die condi- 


tions requisite to growth are maintained. And, as 
in supplying aliment, and clothing, and shelter, 
they may fulfil this function without at all inter- 
fering with the spontaneous development of the 
limbs and viscera either in their order or mode ; so 
they may supply sounds for imitation, objects for 
examination, books for reading, problems for solu- 
tion, and, if they use neither direct nor indirect 
coercion, may do this without in any way disturb- 
ing the normal process of mental evolution ; or 
rather, may greatly facilitate that process. Hence 
the admission of the doctrines enunciated does not, 
as some might argue, involve the abandonment of 
all teaching ; but leaves ample room for an active 
and elaborate course of culture. 

Passing from generalities to special considera- 
tions it is to be ronarked that in practice, the Pes- 
talozzinn system seems scarcely to have fulfilled the 
promise of its theory. We hear of children not at 
all interested in its lessons, — disgusted with them 
rather ; and, so far as we can gather, the Pestaloz- 
zian schools have not turned out any unusual pro- 
portion of distinguished men, — if even they have 
reached the average. We are not surprised at this. 
The success of every appliance depends mainly upon 
the intelligence with which it is used. It is a trite 
remark, tJiat, having the choicest tools, an unskilful 
artisan will botch his work ; and bad teachers will 
fail even with the best methods. Indeed, the good- 
ness of the method becomes in such case a cause of 


failure ; as, to continue the simile, the perfection oi 
the tool becomes in undisciplined hands a source of 
imperfection in results. A simple, unchanging, 
almost mechanical routine of tuition may be carried 
out by the commonest intellects, •with such small 
beneficial effect as it is capable of producing ; but 
a complete system, — a system as heterogeneous in 
its appliances as the mind in its faculties, — a system 
proposing a special means for each special end, de- 
mands for its right employment powers such as few 
teachers possess. Tlie mistress of a dame-school can 
hear spelling-lessons ; any hedge-schoolmaster can 
drill boys in the multiplication-table ; but to teach 
spelling rightly by using the powers of the letters 
instead of their names, or to instruct in numerical 
combinations by experimental synthesis, a modicum 
of understanding is needful : and to pursue a like 
rational course throughout the entire range of 
studies, asks an amount of judgment, of invention, 
of intellectual sympathy, of analytical faculty, 
which we shall never see applied to it while the 
tutorial office is held in such small esteem. The 
true education is practicable only to the true philos- 
opher. Judge, then, what prospect a philosophical 
method now has of being acted out ! Knowing so 
little as we yet do of Psychology, and ignorant as 
our teachers are of that little, what chance has a 
system which requires Psychology for its basis ? 

Further hindrance and discouragement has arisen 
from confounding the Pestalozzian principle with 
the forms in which it has been embodied. Because 


particular plans have not answered expectation, 
discredit has been cast upon the doctrine associated 
with them ; no inquiry being made whether these 
plans truly conform to such doctrine. Judging as 
usual by the concrete rather than the abstract, men 
have blamed the theory for the bunglings of the 
practice. It is as though Papin's futile attempt to 
construct a steam-engine had been held to prove 
that steam could not be used as a motive power. 
Let it be constantly borne in mind that while right 
in his fundamental ideas Pestalozzi was not there- 
fore right in all his applications of them : and we 
believe the fact to be that he was often wrong. As 
described even by his admirers, Pestalozzi was a 
man of partial intuitions, a man who had occasional 
flashes of insight, rather than a man of systematic 
thought. His first great success at Stantz was 
achieved when he had no books or appliances of 
ordinary teaching, and vrhen " the only object of 
his attention was to find out at each moment what 
instruction his children stood peculiarly in need of, 
and what was the best manner of connecting it with 
the knowledge they already possessed." Much of 
his power was due, not to calmly reasoned-out plans 
of culture, but to his profound sympathy, which 
gave him an instinctive perception of childish needs 
and difiiculties. He lacked the ability logically to 
co-ordinate and develop the truths which he thus 
from time to time laid hold of ; and had in great 
measure to leave this to his assistants, Kruesi, Tob- 
ler, Buss, Niederer, and Schmid. The result is that 


in their details his own phms, and those vicariously 
devised, contain numerous crudities and incon- 
sistencies. His nursery -method, described in " The 
Mother's Manual," beginning as it does with a 
nomenclature of the difl'erent parts of the body, and 
proceeding next to specify their relative positions, 
and next -their connexions, may be proved not at all 
in accordance with the initial stages of mental evo- 
lution. His process of teaching the mother tongue 
by formal exercises in the meanings of words and 
in the construction of sentences, is quite needless, 
and must entail on the pupil loss of time, labour, 
and happiness. His proposed mode of teaching 
geography is utterly unpestalozzian. And often 
where his plans are essentially sound they are either 
incomplete or vitiated by some remnant of the old 
regime. While, therefore, we would defend in its 
entire extent the general doctrine which Pestalozzi 
inauo-urated, we think m-eat evil likelv to result from 
an uncritical reception of his specific devices. That 
tendency which mankind constantly exhibit to 
canonize the forms and practices along with which 
any great truth has been bequeathed to them, — 
their liability to prostrate their intellects before the 
prophet, and swear by his every word, — their prone- 
ness to mistake the clothing of the idea for the idea 
itself; renders it needful to insist strongly upon 
the distinction between the fundamental principle 
of the Pestalozzian system, and the set of expedients 
devised for its practice : and to suggest that while 
the one may be considered as established, the other 


is probably notbing but an achiinbration of tbe 
normal course. Indeed, on looking at tbe state of 
our knowledge we may be quite sure tliat tins is 
the case. Before our educational methods can be 
made to harmonize in character and arrangement 
with the faculties in their mode and order of unfold- 
ing, it is first needful that we ascertain with some 
completeness how the faculties do unfold. At pres- 
ent our knowledge of the matter extends only to 
a few general notions. These general notions must 
be developed in detail, — must be transformed into 
a multitude of specific propositions, before we can 
be said to possess that science on which the art of 
education must be based. And then when we have 
definitely made out in what succession, and in what 
combinations the mental powers become active, it 
remains to choose out of the many possible ways of 
exercising each of them that w^hich best conforms 
to its natural mode of action. Evidently, therefore, 
it is not to be supposed that even our most advanced 
modes of teachiug are the right ones, or nearly tli3 
right ones. 

Bearing in mind tlien this distinction between 
tbe principle and the practicxi of Pestalozzi, and in- 
ferring from the grounds assigned that the last must 
necessarily be very detective, the reader will rate at 
its true worth the dissatisfaction wnth the system 
whicb some have expressed ; and will see that the 
due realization of the Pestalozzian idea remains 
to be achieved. Should he argue, however, from 
what has just been said that no such realization is 


at present practicable, and tliat all effort ought to 
be devoted to the preliiiiiiiary inquiry ; we reply, 
that though it is not possilde for a scheme of culture 
to be perfected either in matter or form until a ra- 
tional Psychology has been established, it is possible, 
with the aid of certain guiding principles, to make 
empirical approximations towards a j^erfect scheme. 
To prepare the way for further research we will 
now specify these principles. Some of them have 
already been more or less distinctly implied in the 
foregoing pages ; but it will be well here to state 
them all in logical order. 

1. Tliat in education we should proceed from 
the simple to the complex is a truth which has 
always been to some extent acted upon ; not pro- 
fessedly, indeed, nor by any means consistently. 
The mind grows. Like all things that grow it pro- 
gresses from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous ; 
and a normal training system being an objective 
counterpart of this subjective process, must exhibit 
the like progression. Moreover, regarding it from 
this point of view, we may see that this formula 
has much wider applications than at first appears. 
For its rationale involves not only that we should 
proceed from the single to the combined in the 
teaching of each branch of knowledge ; but that 
we should do the like with knowledge as a whole. 
As the mind, consisting at first of but few active 
faculties ; has its later-completed faculties succes- 
sively awakened, and ultimately comes to have all 


its faculties in simultaneous action ; it follows that 
our teaching should begin with but few subjects at 
once, and successively adding to these, should finally 
carry on all subjects abreast — that not only in its 
details should education proceed from the simple to 
the complex, but in its ensemble also. 

2. To say that our lessons ought to start from 
the concrete and end in the abstract, may be con- 
sidered as in part a repetition of the foregoing, 
Nevertheless it is a maxim that needs to be stated : 
if with no other view, then with the view of shew- 
ing in certain cases what are truly the simple and 
the complex. For unfortunately there has been 
much misunderstanding on this point. General 
formulas which men have devised to express groui)s 
of details, and which have severally simplified their 
conceptions by uniting many facts into one fact, 
they have supposed must simplify the conceptions 
of the child also ; quite forgetting that a generali- 
zation is simple only in comparison with the whole 
mass of particular truths it comprehends — that it is 
more complex than any one of these truths taken 
singly — that only after many of these single truths 
have been acquired does the generalization ease the 
memory and help the reason — and that to the child 
not possessing these single truths it is necessarily a 
mystery. Thus confounding two kinds of simplifi- 
cation, teachers have constantly erred by setting 
out with " first principles " : a proceeding essen- 
tially, though not apparently, at variance with the 
primary rule ; which implies that the mind should 


be introduced to principles through the medium of 
examples, and so sliould be led from the particular 
to the general — from the concrete to the abstract. 

3. The education of the child must accord both 
in mode and arrangement with the education of 
mankind as considered historically ; or in other 
words, the genesis of knowledge in the individual 
must follow the same course as the genesis of knowl- 
edge in the race. To M. Comte we believe society 
owes the enunciation of this doctrine — a doctrine 
which we may accept Avithout conmiitting onrselves 
to his theory of the genesis of knowledge, either in 
its causes or its order. In support of this doctrine 
two reasons may be assigned, either of them suffi- 
cient to establish it. One is deducible from the 
law of hereditary transmission as considered in its 
wider consequences. For if it be true that men 
exhibit likeness to ancestry both in aspect and char- 
acter — if it be true that certain mental manifesta- 
tions, as insanity, will occur in successive members of 
the same family at the same age — if, passing from 
individual cases in which the traits of many dead 
ancestors mixing with those of a few living ones 
greatly obscure the law, we turn to national types, 
and remark how the contrasts between them are 
persistent from age to age — if we remember that 
these respective types came from a common stock, 
and that hence the present marked differences be- 
tween them must have arisen from the action of 
modifying circumstances upon successive genera- 
tions who severally transmitted the accumulated 


effects to their descendants — if we find the differ- 
ences to be now organic, so tliat the French child 
grows into a French man even when brought up 
among strangers — and if the general fact thus illus^ 
trated is true of the whole nature, intellect inclusive ; 
then it follows that if there be an order in Avhich 
the human race has mastered its various kinds ot 
knowledge, there will arise in every child an apti- 
tude to acquire these kinds of knowledge in the 
same order. So that even were the order intrinsi- 
cally indifferent, it would facilitate education to 
lead the individual mind through the steps traversed 
by the general mind. But the order is not intrin- 
sically indifferent ; and hence the fundamental rea- 
son why education should be a repetition of civili- 
sation in little. It is alike provable that the his- 
torical sequence was, in its main outlines, a neces- 
sary one ; and that the causes which determined it 
apply to the child as to the race, Not to specify 
these causes in detail, it will suffice here to point 
out that as the mind of humanity placed in the 
midst of phenomena and striving to comprehend 
them, has, after endless comparisons, speculations, 
•experiments, and theories, reached its present 
knowledge of each subject by a specific route ; it 
may rationally be inferred that the relationship be- 
tween mind and phenomena is such as to prevent 
this knowledge from being reached by any other 
route ; and that as each child's mind stands in this 
same relationsliip to jjhenomena, they can be acces- 
sible to ii only through the same route. Hence in 


deciding upon the right method of education, an 
inquiry into tlic metliod of civilisation will help to 
guide us. 

4. One of the conclusions to which such an in- 
quiry leads is, that in each branch of instruction 
we should proceed from the empirical to the rational. 
A leading fact in human progress is, that every 
science is evolved out of its corresponding art. It 
results from the necessity we are under, both indi- 
vidually and as a race, of reaching the abstract by 
way of the concrete, that there must be practice and 
an accruing experience with its empirical generali- 
zations, before there can be science. Science is 
organized knowledge ; and before knowledge can 
be organized, some of it must first be possessed. 
Every study, therefore, should have a purely exper- 
imental introduction ; and only after an ample 
fund of observations has been accumulated, should 
reasoning begin. As illustrative applications of this 
rule, we may instance the modern course of placing 
grammar, not before language, but after it ; or the 
ordinary custom of prefacing perspective by practi- 
cal drawing. By and by further applications of it 
will be indicated. 

5. A second corollary from the foregoing gen- 
eral principle, and one wliich cannot be too sti'enu- 
ously insisted upon, is, that in education the process 
of self-development should be encouraged to the 
fullest extent. Children should be led to make 
their o^vn investigations, and to draw their own in- 
ferences. Tliey shouM be told as little as possible, 


and induced to discover as mncli as possible. Hu- 
manity lias progressed solely by self-instruction ; 
and that to achieve the best results^ each mind must 
progress somewhat after the same fashion, is con- 
tinually proved by the marked success of self-made 
men. Those who have been brought up under the 
ordinary school-drill, and have carried away with 
them the idea that education is practicable only in 
that style, will think it hopeless to make children 
their own teachers. If, however, they will call to 
mind that the all-important knowledge of surround- 
ing objects which a child gets in its early years is 
got without help — if they will remember that the 
child is self-taught in the use of its mother tongue 
— if they will estimate the amount of that experi- 
ence of life, that out-of-school wisdom, which every 
boy gathers for himself — if they will mark the 
unusual intelligence of the uncared-for London 
gamin^ as shewn in all the directions in which his 
faculties have been tasked — if further, they will 
think how many minds have struggled up unaided, 
not only through the mysteries of our irrationally- 
pianned curriculum, but through hosts of other ob- 
stacles besides ; they will find it a not unreasonable 
conclusion, that if the subjects be put before him in 
right order and right form, any pupil of ordinary ca- 
pacity will surmount his successive difficulties with 
but little assistance. Who indeed can watch the 
ceaseless observation, and inquiry, and inference go- 
ing on in a child's mind, or listen to its acute remarks 
on matters within the range of its faculties, without 


perceiving tliat tliese powers wliich it manifests, if 
brouglit to bear systematically Tipon any studies 
witliin the same range^ would readily master them 
without help ? This need f )r peri)etual telling is 
the result of our stupidity, not of the child's. We 
drag it away from the facts in which it is interested, 
and which it is actively assimilating of itself; we 
put before it facts far too complex for it to under- 
stand, and therefore distasteful to it ; finding that 
it will not voluntarily acquire these facts, we 
thrust them into its mind by force of threats and 
punishment ; by thus denying the knowledge it 
craves, and cramming it with knowledge it cannot 
digest, we produce a morbid state of its faculties, 
and a consequent disgust for knowledge in general ; 
and when, as a result partly of the stolid indolence 
we have brought on, and partly of still continued un- 
fitness in its studies, the child can understand noth- 
ing without explanation, and becomes a mere passive 
recipient of our instruction, we infer that education 
must necessarily be carried on thus. Having by our 
method induced helplessness, we straightway make 
the helplessness a reason for our method. Clearly 
tlien the experience of pedagogues cannot rationally 
be quoted against the doctrine we are defending. And 
whoever sees this will see that we may safely follow 
tlie method of nature throughout — may, by a skilful 
ministration, make the mind as self-developing in its 
later stages as it is in its earlier ones ; and that only 
by doing this can we produce the highest power and 


6. As a final test by which to judge any plan 
of culture, should come the question, — Does it create 
a pleasurable excitement in the pupils? TV hen in 
doubt whether a particular mode or arrangement ie 
or is not more in harmony with tlie foregoing princi- 
ples than some other, we may safely abide by this 
criterion. Even when, as considered theoretically, 
the proposed course seems the best, yet if it produce 
no interest, or less interest than another course, we 
should relinquish it ; for a child's intellectual in- 
stincts are more trustworthy than our reasonings. 
In respect to the knowing faculties, we may confi- 
dently trust in the general law, that under normal 
conditions, healthful action is pleasurable, while 
action which gives pain is not healthful. Tliough 
at present very incompletely conformed to by the 
emotional nature, yet by the intellectual nature, or 
at least by those parts of it which the child exhibits, 
this law is almost wholly conformed to. The re- 
pugnances to this and that study which vex the 
ordinary teacher, are not innate, but result from 
his unwise system. Fcllenberg says, " Experience 
has taught me that indolence in young persons is so 
directly opposite to their natural disposition to ac- 
tivity, that unless it is the consequence of bad edu- 
cation, it is almost invariably connected with some 
constitutional defect." And the spontaneous activ 
ity to which children are thus prone, is simply the 
pursuit of those pleasures which the healthful exer- 
cise of the faoulties gives. It is true that some of 
the higher mental powers as yet but little developed 


in the race, and congenitally possessed in any con- 
siderable degree only by tlie most advanced, are 
indisposed to the amount of exertion re(piired of 
them. But these, in virtue of their very complexity, 
will, in a normal course of culture, come last into 
exercise, and will therefore have no demands made 
upon them until the pupil has arrived at an age when 
ulterior motives can be brought into play, and an in- 
direct pleasure made to counterbalance a direct dis- 
pleasure. With all faculties lower than these, how- 
ever, the direct gratification consequent on activity is 
the normal stimulus ; and under good management 
the only needful stimulus. "When we are obliged to 
fall back upon some other, we must take the fact as 
evidence that we are on the wrong track. Experience 
is daily shewing with greater clearness that there is al- 
ways a method to be found productive of interest — 
even of delight ; and it ever turns out that this is the 
method proved by all other tests to be the right one. 
With most, these guiding principles will weigh 
but little if left in this abstract form. Partly, there- 
fore, to exemplify their application, and partly with 
a view of making sundry specilic suggestions, we 
propose now to pass from the theory of education 
to the practice of it. 


It was the opinion of Pestalozzi — an opinion 
which has ever since his day l^een gaining ground 
— that education of some kind should l>egin from 
the cradle. AVhoever has watched with any dis- 
cernment, the wide-eyed gaze of the infant at sur- 


rounding objects, knows very well that educa- 
tion does begin thus early, whetlier we intend 
it or not ; and that tliese fingerings and suckings 
of every thing it can lay hold of, these open-mouthed 
listenings to every sound, are the first steps in the 
series which ends in the discovery of unseen planets, 
the invention of calculating engines, the production 
of great paintings, or the composition of sympho- 
nies and operas. This activity of the faculties from 
the very first being spontaneous and inevitable, the 
question is whether we shall supply in due variety 
the materials on which they may exercise them- 
selves ; and to the question so put, none but an 
affirmative answer can be given. As before said, 
however, agreement with Pestalozzi's theory does 
not involve agreement with his practice ; and here 
occurs a case in point. Treating of instruction in 
spelling he says : — 

" The spelling-book ought, therefore, to contain all the 
sounds of the language, and these ought to be taught iu every 
family from the earliest infancy. The child who learns his 
spelling-book ought to repeat them to the infant in the cradle, 
before it is able to pronounce even one of them, so that they 
may be deeply impressed upon its mind by frequent repeti- 

Joining this with the suggestions for " a niirsery- 
method," as set down in his " Mother's Manual," in 
which he makes the names, positions, connexions, 
numbers, properties, and uses of the limbs and body 
his first lessons, it becomes clear that Pestalozzi's 


notions on early mental development were too crude 
to enable him to devise judicious plans. Let us in- 
quire into the course which Psychology dictates. 

The earliest impressions which the mind can a.s- 
similate, are those given to it by the undecom})osablo 
sensations — resistance, light, sound, &c. Manifest- 
ly decomposable states of consciousness cannot exist 
before the states of consciousness out of which they 
are composed. There can be no idea of form until 
some familiarity with light in its gradations and 
(jualities, or resistance in its different intensities, has 
been acquired ; for, as has been long known, we rec- 
ognize visible form by means of varieties of light, 
and tangible form by means of varieties of resistance. 
Similarly, no articulate sound is cognizable until 
the inarticulate sounds which go to malce it up 
have been learned. And thus must it be in every 
other case. Following, therefore, the necessary law 
of i3rogression from the simple to the complex, we 
should provide for the infant a sufficiency of objects 
presenting different degrees and kinds of resistance, 
a sufficiency of objects reflecting different amounts 
and qualities of light, and a sufficiency of sounds 
contrasted in their loudness, their pitch and their 
timbre. IIow fully this a priori conclusion is con- 
firmed by infantile instincts all will see on being 
reminded of the delight which every young child 
has in biting its toys, in feeling its brother''s bright 
jacket-buttons, and pulling papa's whiskers — how 
absorded it becomes in gazing at any gaudily 
painted object, to which it applies the word 


" pretty," when it can pronounce it, wboll}'- in vir- 
tue of the briglit colours — and how its face broadens 
into a laugh at the tattlings of its nurse, the snap- 
ping of a visitor's fingers, or any sound which it has 
not before heard. Fortunately, the ordinary prac- 
tices of the nursery fulfil these early requirements 
of education to a considerable degree. Much, how- 
ever, remains to be done ; and it is of more impor- 
tance that it should be done than at first appears. 
Every faculty during the period of its greatest ac- 
tivity — the period in which it is spontaneously 
evolving itself — is capable of receiving more vivid 
impressions than at any other period. Moreover, 
as these simplest elements must eventually be mas- 
tered, and as the mastery of them whenever achieved 
must take time, it becomes an economy of time to 
occupy this first stage of childhood, during which 
no other intellectual action is possible, in gaining a 
complete familiarity with them in all their modifica- 
tions. Add to which, that both temper and health 
will be improved by the continual gratification re- 
sulting from a due supply of these imj)ressions 
which every child so greedily assimilates. SpacC; 
could it be spared, might here be well filled by some 
suggestions towards a more systematic ministration 
to these simplest of the perceptions. But it must 
suffice to point out that any such ministration ought 
to be based upon the general truth that in the de- 
velopment of every faculty, markedly contrasted im- 
pressions are the first to be distinguished : that hence 
sounds greatly diflfering in loudness and pitch, colours 


very remote from each other, and siihstaiioes widely 
unlike in hardness or texture, should be the first sup- 
plied ; and that in each case the progression must be 
by slow degrees to impressions more nearly allied. 

Passing on to object- lessons, which manifestly 
form a natural continuation of this primary culture 
of the senses, it is to be remarked, that the system 
commonly pursued is wholly at variance with the 
method of nature, as alike exhibited in infancy, in 
adult life, and in the course of civilization. " Tlie 
child," says M. Marcel, " must be shewn how all 
the parts of an object are connected, ifec. ; " and the 
various manuals of these object-lessons severally 
contain lists of the facts which the child is to be 
told respecting each of the things put before it. 
Xow it needs but a glance at the daily life of the 
infant to see that all the knowledge of things which 
is gained before the acquirement of speech, is self- 
gained — that the qualities of hardness and weight 
associated with certain visual appearances, the pos- 
session of particular forms and colours by particular 
persons, the production of special sounds by animals 
of special aspects, are phenomena which it observes 
for itself. In manhood too, when there are no longer 
teachers at hand, the observations and inferences 
required for daily guidance, must be made un- 
helped ; and success in life depends upon the accu- 
racy and completeness with which they are made. 
Is it probable then, that while the process displayed 
in the evolution of humanity at large, is repeated 
alike by the infant and the man, a reverse process 

THE child's demand FOK SYMPATHY. 133 

must be followed during the period between infancy 
and manhood ? and that too, even in so simple a 
thing as learning the properties of objects ? Is it 
not obvious, on the contrary, that one method must 
be pursued throughout ? And is not nature perpet- 
iiallj thrusting this method upon us, if we had but 
the wit to see it, and the humility to adopt it ? 
What can be more manifest than the desire of chil- 
dren for intellectual sympathy ? Mark how the 
infant sitting on your knee thrasts into your face 
the toy it holds, that you too may look at it. See 
when it makes a creak with its wet finger on the 
table, how it turns and looks at you ; does it again, 
and again looks at you ; thus saying as clearly as 
it can — " Hear this new sound." Watch how the 
elder children come into the room exclaiming — 
" Mamma, see what a curious thing," " Mamma, 
look at this," " Mamma, look at that ; " and would 
continue the habit, did not the silly mamma tell 
them not to tease her. Observe how, when out with 
the nurse-maid, each little one runs up to her with 
the new flower it has gathered, to show her how 
pretty it is, and to get her also, to say it is pretty. 
Listen to the eager volubility with which every up 
chin describes any novelty he has been to see, if 
only he can find some one who will attend with any 
interest. Does not the induction lie on the surface ? 
Is it not clear that we must conform our course tc 
these intellectual instincts — that we must just sys- 
tematize the natural process — that we must listen 
to all the child has to teU us about each object, must 


induce it to say every thing it can tliink of about 
such object, must occasionally draw its attention to 
facts it has not yet observed, Mitli the view of lead- 
ing it to notice them itself whenever they recur, 
and must go on by and by to indicate or supply 
new series of things for a like exhaustive examina- 
tion ? See the way in which, on this method, the 
intelligent mother conducts her lessons. Step by 
step she familiarizes her little boy with the names 
of the simpler attributes, hardness, softness, colour, 
taste, size, &c., in doing which she finds him eagerly 
help by bringing this to show her that it is red, aud 
the other to make her feel that it is hard, as fast as 
she gives him words for these properties. Each 
additional property, as she draws his attention to it 
in some fresh thing which he brings her, she takes 
care to mention in connexion with those he already 
knows ; so that by the natural tendency to imitate, 
he may get into the habit of repeating them one 
after another. Gradually as there occur cases in 
which he omits to name one or more of the proper- 
ties he has become acquainted with, she introduces 
the practice of asking him whether there is not 
something more that he can tell her about the thing 
he has got. Probably he does not understand. 
After letting him puzzle awhile she tells him ; per- 
haps laughing at him a little for his failure. A few 
recurrences of this and he perceives what is to be 
done. "When next she says she knows something 
more about the object than he has told her, his pride 
2S roused ; he looks at it intently ; he thinks over 


all that lie has heard ; and the problem being easy, 
presently finds it out. He is full of glee at his suc- 
cess, and she sympathizes with him. In common 
with every child, he delights in the discovery of his 
powers. He wishes for more victories, and goes in 
quest of more things about M'hich to tell her. As 
his faculties unfold she adds quality after quality to 
his list : progressing from hardness and softness to 
roughness and smoothness, from colour to polish, 
from simple bodies to composite ones — thus con- 
stantly complicating the problem as he gains com- 
petence, constantly taxing his attention and memory 
to a greater extent, constantly maintainmg his in- 
terest by supplying him with new impressions such 
as his mind can assimilate, and constantly gratifying 
him by conquests over such small difficulties as he 
can master. In doing this she is manifestly but 
following out that spontaneous process that was 
going on during a still earlier period — simply aiding 
self-evolution ; and is aiding it in the mode sug- 
gested by the boy's instinctive behavior to her. 
Manifestly, too, the course she is pursuing is the one 
best calculated to establish a habit of exhaustive 
observation ; Avhich is the professed aim of these 
lessons. To tell a child this and to show it the other, 
is not to teach it how to observe, but to make it a mere 
recipient of another's observations : a proceeding 
which weakens rather than strengthens its powers of 
self-instruction — which deprives it of the pleasures 
resulting from successful activity — wliich presents 
this all-attractive knowledge under the aspect of for- 


iiial tuition — and wliieli thus generates that indiffer- 
ence and even disgust -with which tlicseohject-lessons 
are not unfrequently regarded. On the other hand, 
to pursue the course above described is simply to 
guide the intellect to its appropriate food ; to join 
'v^'ith the intellectual appetites their natural adjuncts 
— amour prapre and the desire for sympathy ; to in- 
duce by the union of all these an intensity of attention 
which insures perceptions alike vivid and complete ; 
and to habituate the mind from the beginning to that 
practice of self-help M'hich it must ultimately follow. 
Object-lessons should not only be earned on 
after quite a different fashion from that commonly 
pursued, but should be extended to a range of things 
far wider, and continue to a period far later, than 
now. They should not be limited to the contents 
of the house ; but should include those of the fields 
and the hedges, the quarry and the sea-shore. Tliey 
should not cease with early childhood ; but shoidd 
be so kept up during youth as insensibly to merge 
into the investigations of the naturalist and the man 
of science. Here again we have but to follow na- 
ture's leadings. "Where can be seen an intenser de- 
light than that of children picking up new flowers 
and watching new insects, or hoarding pebbles and 
shells ? And who is there but perceives that by 
symjjathizing with them they may be led on to any 
extent of inquiry into the qualities and structures 
of these things ? Every botanist who has had chil- 
dren with him in the woods and the lanes must have 
noticed how eagerly they joined in his pursuits, how 


keenly tliej searched ont plants for liim, how in> 
tently they watched whilst he examined them, how 
they overwhelmed him with questions. The consist 
ent follower of Bacon — the " servant and interpre- 
ter of nature," will see that we ought modestly to 
adopt the course of culture thus indicated. Having 
gained due familiarity with the simpler properties 
of inorganic objects, the child should by the same 
process be led on to a like exhaustive examination 
of the things it picks up in its daily walks — the less 
complex facts they present being alone noticed at 
first : in plants, the colour, number, and forms of 
the petals and shapes of the stalks and leaves : in 
insects, the numbers of the wings, legs, and anten- 
nse, and their colours. As these become fully ap- 
preciated and invariably observed, further facts may 
be successively introduced : in the one case, the 
numbers of stamens and pistils, the forms of the 
flowers, whether radial or bilateral in symmetry, 
the arrangement and character of the leaves, whether 
opposite or alternate, stalked or sessile, smooth or 
hairy, serrated, toothed, or crenate ; in the other, 
the divisions of the body, the segments of the ab- 
domen, the markings of the wings, tlie number of 
joints in the legs, and the forms of the smaller or- 
gans — the system pursued throughout being that of 
making it the child's ambition to say respecting 
everything it finds, all that can be said. Then when 
a fit age has been reached, the means of preserving 
these plants which have become so interesting in 
virtue of the knowledge obtained of them, may as 


a great favour be supplied ; and eventually, as a 
still greater favour, may also be supplied the appa- 
ratus needful for keeping the larvse of our common 
butterflies and moths through their transforn)ations 
• — a practice which, as we can personally testify, 
yields the highest gratification ; is continued with 
ardour for years ; when joined with the formation 
of an entomological collection, adds immense in- 
terest to Saturday-afternoon rambles ; and forms an 
admirable introduction to the study of physiology. 
We are quite prepared to hear from many that 
all this is throwing away time and energy ; and that 
children would be much better occupied in writing 
their copies or learning their pence-tables, and so 
fitting themselves for the business of life. "We re- 
gret that such crude ideas of what constitutes edu- 
cation and such a narrow conception of utility, should 
still be generally prevalent. Saying nothing on the 
need for a systematic culture of the perceptions and 
the value of the practices above inculcated as 
subserving that need, we are prepared to defend 
them even on the score of the knowledge gained. 
If men are to be mere cits, mere porers over led- 
gers, with no ideas beyond their trades — if it is well 
that they should be as the cockney whose conception 
of rural pleasures extends no further than sitting in 
a tea-garden smoking pipes and drinking porter ; or 
as the squire who thinks of woods as places for 
shooting in, of uncultivated plants as nothing but 
weeds, and who classifies animals into game, vermin, 
fjid stock — then indeed it is needless for men to 


learn Ariy tliing that does not directly help to re- 
plenish the till and till the larder. But if there is a 
more worthy aim for us than to be drudges — if there 
are other uses in the things around us than their 
power to bring money — if there are higher faculties 
to be exercised than acquisitive and sensual ones — 
if the pleasures which poetry and art and science 
and philosophy can bring are of any moment — then 
is it desirable that the instinctive inclination which 
every child shows to observe natural beauties and 
investigate natural phenomena should be encour- 
aged. But this gross utilitarianism which is con- 
tent to come into the world and quit it again with- 
out knowing what kind of a world it is or what it 
contains, may bo met on its own ground. It will 
by and by be found that a knowledge of the laws 
of life is more important than any other knowledge 
whatever — that the laws of life include not only all 
bodily and mental processes, but by implication all 
the transactions of the house and the street, all com- 
merce, all politics, all morals — and that therefore 
without a due acquaintance with them neither per- 
sonal nor social conduct can be rightly regulated. 
It will eventually be seen too, that the laws of life 
are essentially the same throughout the whole or- 
ganic creation ; and further, that they cannot be 
properly understood in their complex manifestations 
until they have been studied in their simpler ones. 
And when this is seen, it will be also seen that in 
aiding the child to acquire the out-of-door informa- 
tion for which it shews bo great an avidity, and in 


encouraging the acquisition of such information 
tbroiigliout youth, we arc simply inducing it to store 
up the raw material for future organization — the 
facts that will one day bring home to it with due 
force those great generalizations of science by which 
actions may be rightly guided. 

The spreading recognition of drawing as an 
element of education, is one amongst many signs 
of the more rational views on mental culture now 
beginning to prevail. Once more it may be re- 
marked that teachers are at length adopting the 
course which nature has for ages been pressing upon 
their notice. The spontaneous efforts made by chil- 
dren to represent the men, houses, trees, and animals 
around them — on a slate if they can get nothing 
better, or with lead-pencil on paper, if they can beg 
them — are familiar to all. To be shown through a 
picture-book is one of their highest gratifications ; 
and as usual, their strong imitative tendency pres- 
ently generates in them the ambition to make 
pictures themselves also. Tliis attempt to depict 
the striking things they see is a further instinctive 
exercise of the perceptions — a means whereby still 
greater accuracy and completeness of observation 
is induced. And alike by seeking to interest us in 
their discoveries of the sensible properties of things, 
and by their endeavours to draw, they solicit from 
us just that kind of culture which they most need. 

Had teachers been guided by nature's hints not 
only in the making of drawing a j^art of education, 
but in the choice of their modes of teaching it, they 


would have done still better than they have done. 
What is it that the child first tries to represent ? 
Tilings that are large, things that are attractive in 
colour, things round which its pleasurable associa- 
tions most cluster — human beings from whom it has 
received so many emotions, cows and dogs which 
interest by the many phenomena tliey present, 
houses that are hourly visible and strike by their 
size and contrast of parts. And which of all the 
processes of representation gives it most delight ? 
Colouring. Paper and pencil are good in default 
of something better ; bat a box of paints and a 
brush — these are the treasures. The drawing of 
outlines immediately becomes secondary to colour- 
ing — is gone through mainly with a view to the 
colouring ; and if leave can be got to colour a book 
of prints, how great is the favour ! ISTow, ridiculous 
as such a position will seem to drawing-masters, 
who postpone colouring and who teach form by a 
dreary discipline of copying lines, we believe that 
tlie course of culture thus indicated is the right one. 
That priority of colour to form, which, as already 
pointed out, has a psychological basis, and in virtue 
of which psychological basis arises this strong pref- 
erence in the child, should be recognized from the 
very beginning ; and from the very beginning also 
the things imitated should be real. Tliat greater 
delight in colour which is not only conspicuous in 
children but persists in most persons throughout 
life, should be continuously employed as the natural 
stimulus to the mastery of the comparatively diffi- 


cult and unattractive form — should be the prospeC' 
tivc reward for the achievement of form. And 
these instinctive attempts to represent interesting 
actualities should be all along encouraged ; in the 
conviction that as, by a widening experience, smaller 
and more practicable objects become interesting, 
they too will be attempted ; and that so a gradual 
approximation will be made towards imitations hav- 
ing some resemblance to the realities. Ko matter 
how grotesque the shapes produced : no matter how 
daubed and glaring the colours. Tlie question is 
not whether the child is producing good drawings : 
the question is, whether it is developing its faculties. 
It has first to gain some command over its fingers, 
some crude notions of likeness ; and this practice is 
better than any other for these ends ; seeing that it 
is the spontaneous and the interesting one. During 
these early years, be it remembered, no formal 
drawing-lessons are possible : shall wc therefore re- 
press, or neglect to aid, these eflforts at self-culture? 
or shall we encourage and guide them as normal 
exercises of the perceptions and the powers of manip- 
ulation ? If by the supply of cheap woodcuts to 
be coloured, and simple contour-maps to have their 
boundary lines tinted, we can not only pleasurably 
draw out the faculty of colour, but can incidentally 
produce some familiarity with the outlines of things 
and countries, and some ability to move the brush 
steadily ; and if by the sup])ly of temptingly-painted 
objects we can keep up the instinctive practice of 
making representations, however rough, it must 


happen that by the time drawing is commonly 
commenced there will exist a facility that would 
else have been absent. Time will have been gained ; 
and trouble both to teacher and pupil, saved. 

From all that has been said, it may be readily 
inferred that we wholly disapprove of the practice 
of drawing from copies ; and still more so of that 
formal discipline in making straight lines and curved 
lines and compound lines, with which it is the 
fashion of some teachers to begin. We regret to 
find that the Society of Arts has recently, in its 
series of manuals on " Rudimentary Art-Instruc- 
tion," given its countenance to an elementary draw- 
ing-book, which is the most vicious in principle that 
we have seen. We refer to the " Outline from Out- 
line, or from the Flat," by John Bell, sculptor. As 
expressed in the prefatory note, this publication 
proposes " to place before the student a simple, yet 
logical mode of instruction ; " and to this end sets 
out with a number of definitions thus : — 

" A simple line in drawing is a thin mark drawn from one 
point to another. 

"Lines may be divided, as to their nature in drawing, into 
two classes : — 

" 1. Straight^ which are marks that go the shortest road 
between two points, as A B. 

"2. Or Curved^ which are marks which do not go the 
shortest road between two points, as C D." 

And so the introduction progresses to horizontal 
lines, peri)endicular lines, oblique lines, angles of 


the several kinds, and tlic variuns fii^ures wliieh 
lines and ang-les make up. The work is, in short, a 
grammar of i'urm, with exercises. And tl:ns the 
system of commencing with a dry analysis of ele- 
ments, which, in the teaching of language, has been 
exploded, is to be re-instituted in the teaching of 
drawing. The abstract is to be preliminary to the 
concrete. Scientific conceptions are to precede em- 
pirical experiences. That this is an invei'sion of the 
normal order, we need scarcely repeat. It has been 
well said concerning the custom of preuicing the 
art of speaking any tongue by a drilling in the parts 
of speech and their functions, that it is about as 
reasonable as prefacing the art of walking by a 
course of lessons on the bones, muscles, and nerves 
of the legs ; and much the same thing may be said 
of the proposal to preface the art of representing 
objects by a nomenclature and definitions of the 
lines which they yield on analysis. These techni- 
calities are alike repulsive and needless. They ren- 
der the study distasteful at the very outset ; and all 
with the view of teaching that, which, in the course 
of practice, will be learnt unconsciously. Just as 
the child incidentally gathers the meanings of ordi- 
nary words from the conversations going on aronnd 
it, without the help of dictionaries ; so, from the 
remarks on objects, j)ictures, and its own drawings, 
will it presently acquire, not only without effort but 
even pleasurably, those same scientific terms, Mhich, 
if presented at first, are a mystery and a Aveariness. 
If any dependence is to be placed upon the general 


principles of education that have been laid down, 
the process of learning to draw should be through- 
out continuous with those efforts of early childhood 
described above, as so worthy of encouragemento 
By the time that the voluntary practice thus ini- 
tiated has given some steadiness of hand, and some 
tolerable ideas of proportion, there will have arisen 
a vague notion of body as presenting its three di- 
mensions in perspective. And when, after sundry 
abortive, Chinese-like attempts to render this ap- 
pearance on paper, there has grown up a pretty clear 
perception of the thing to be achieved, and a desire 
to achieve it, a first lesson in empirical jDerspective 
may be given by means of the apparatus occasion- 
ally used in explaining perspective as a science. 
Tliis sounds formidable ; but the experiment is both 
comprehensive and interesting to any boy or girl 
of ordinary intelligence. A plate of glass so framed 
as to stand vertically on the table, being placed 
before the pupil, and a book, or like simple object 
laid on the other side of it, he is requested, whilst 
keeping the eye in one position, to make ink dots 
upon the glass, so that they may coincide with, or 
hide the corners of this object. He is then told to 
join these dots by lines ; on doing which he per- 
ceives that the lines he makes hide, or coincide with, 
the outlines of the oliject. And then on being asked 
to put a sheet of paper on the other side of the glass, 
he discovers that the lines he has thus drawn repre- 
sent the object as he saw it. They not only look 
like it, but he perceives that they must be like it, 


because he made them agree M'ith its outlines ; and 
by removing the paper he can repeatedly convince 
himself that they do agree with its outlines. The 
fact is new and striking ; and serves him as an 
experimental demonstration, that lines of certain 
lengths, placed in certain directions on a plane, can 
represent lines of other lengths, and having other 
directions in space. Subsequently, by gradually 
changing the position of the object, he may be led 
to observe how some lines shorten and disapj^ear, 
whilst others come into sight and lengthen. The 
convergence of parallel lines, and, indeed, all the 
leading facts of perspective may, from time to time, 
be similarly illustrated to him. If he has been duly 
accustomed to self-help, he will gladly, when it is 
suggested, make the attempt to draw one of these out- 
lines upon paper, by the eye only ; and it may soon 
be made an exciting aim to produce, unassisted, a 
representation, as like as he can, to one subsequently 
sketched on the glass. Thus, without the unintelli- 
gent, mechanical practice of copying other drawings, 
but by a method at once simple and attractive — 
rational, yet not abstract, a familiarity with the 
linear appearances of things, and a faculty of ren- 
dering them, may be, step by step, acquired. To 
which advantages add these : — that even thus early 
the pupil learns, almost unconsciously, the true 
theory of a picture — namely, that it is a delineation 
of objects as they appear when projected on a plane 
placed between them and the eye ; and that when 
he roaches a fit age for commencing scientilic pei^ 


spective lie is already thoroughly acquainted with 
the facts which form its logical basis. 

As exhibiting a rational mode of communicating 
primary conceptions in geometry, we cannot do 
better than quote the following passage from Mr. 
Wyse :— 

" A child has been in the habit of using cubes for arithme- 
tic ; let him use them aLso for the elements of geometry. I 
■would begin with solids, the reverse of the usual plan. It 
saves all the difficulty of absurd definitions, and bad explana- 
tions on points, lines, and surfaces, which are nothing but ab- 
stractions. ... A cube presents many of the principal 
elements of geometry ; it at once exhibits points, straight 
lines, parallel lines, angles, parallelograms, &c., &c. These 
cubes are divisible into various parts. The pupil has already 
been familiarized with such divisions in numeration, and he 
now proceeds to a comparison of their several parts, and of 
the relation of these parts to each other. , . . From thence 
he advances to globes, which furnish him with elementary 
notions of the circle, of curves generally, &c., &c. 

" Being tolerably familiar with solids, he may now sub- 
stitute planes. The transition may be made very easy. Let 
the cube, for instance, be cut into thin divisions, and placed 
on paper ; he will then see as many plane rectangles as he 
has divisions ; so with all the others. Globes may be treated 
in the same manner ; he will thus see how surfaces really are 
generated, and be enabled to abstract them with facility in 
every solid. 

" He has thus acquired the alphabet and reading of geom- 
etry. He now proceeds to write it. 

" The simplest operation, and therefore the first, is merely 
to place these planes on a piece of paper, and pass the pencil 
round them. "When this has been frequently done, the plane 
may be put at a little distance, and the child required to copy 
it, and so on." 


A stock of geometrical conceptions having been 
obtained, in some sucb manner as tliis recom- 
mended by Mr. Wyse, a farther step may, in conrse 
of time, be taken, by introdncing the practice of 
testing the correctness of all figures drawn by tlie 
eye ; tlius alike exciting an ambition to make them 
exact, and continually illustrating the difficulty of 
fulfilling that ambition. Tliere can be little doubt 
that geometry had its origin (as, indeed, the word 
implies) in the methods discovered by artisans and 
others, of making accurate measurement for the 
foundations of buildings, areas of inclosures, and 
the like ; and that its truths came to be treasured 
up, merely with a view to their immediate utility. 
They should be introduced to the pupil under anal- 
ogous relationships. In the cutting out of pieces 
for his card-houses, in the drawing of ornamental 
diagrams for colouring, and in those various instruc- 
tive occupations which an inventive teacher will 
lead him into, he may be for a length of time ad- 
vantageously left, like the primitive builder, to 
tentative processes ; and will so gain an abundant 
experience of the difficulty of achieving his aims 
by the unaided senses. When, having meanwhile 
undergone a valuable discipline of the perceptions, 
he has reached a fit age for using a pair of compass- 
es, he Avill, whilst duly appreciating these as ena- 
bling him to verify his ocular guesses, be still hin- 
dered by the difficulties of the approximative method. 
In this stage he may be left for a further period : 
partly as being yet too young for anything higher ; 


partly Lecause it is desirable that he should be made 
to feel still more strongly the Avaiit of systematic 
eoiitriyances. If the acquisition of knowledge is to 
be made continuously interesting ; and if, in the 
early civilization of the child, as in the early ciyili- 
zation of the race, science becomes attractiye only 
as ministering to art ; it is manifest that the proper 
preliminary to geometry is a long practice in those 
constructive processes which geometry will facilitate. 
Observe that here, too, nature points the way. Al- 
most invariably, children show a strong propensity 
to cut out things in paper, to make, to build — a 
propensity which, if duly encouraged and directed, 
will not only prepare the way for scientific concep- 
tions, but will develop those powers of manipula- 
tion in which most people are so deficient. 

When the observing and inventive faculties 
have attained the requisite power, the pupil may 
be introduced to empirical geometry ; that is — 
geometry dealing with methodical solutions, but 
not with the demonstrations of them. Like all 
other transitions in education, this should be made 
not formally but incidentally ; and the relationship 
to constructive art should still be maintained. To 
make a tetrahedron in cardboard, like one given to 
him, is a problem which will alike interest the 
pupil, and serve as a convenient starting-point. In 
attempting this, he finds it needful to draw four 
equilateral triangles arranged in special positions. 
Being unable in the absence of an exact method to 
do this accurately he discovers on putting the tri- 


angles into their respective positions, that Le can 
not make their sides fit, and that their angles do 
not properly meet at the apex. He may now be 
shown how by describing a couple of circles, each 
of these triangles may be drawn with perfect cor- 
rectness and without guessing ; and after his failure 
he will duly value the information. Having thus 
helped him to the solution of his first problem, 
with the view of illustrating the nature of geomet- 
rical methods, he is in future to be left altogether 
to his own ingenuity in solving the questions put 
to him. To bisect a line, to erect a perpendicular, 
to describe a square, to bisect an angle, to draw a 
line parallel to a given line, to describe a hexagon, 
are jiroblems which a little patience will enable him 
to find out. And from these he may be led on 
step by step to questions of a more complex kind ; 
all of which, under judicious management, he will 
puzzle through unhelped. Doubtless, many of 
those brought up under the old regime, will look 
upon this assertion sceptically. We speak from 
facts, however, and those neither few nor special. 
We have seen a class of boys become so interested 
in making out solutions to these problems, as to 
look forward to their geometry -lesson as a chief 
event of the week. Within the last month, we 
have been told of one girls' school, in which some 
of the young ladies voluntarily occupy themselves 
with' geometrical questions out of school-hours ; and 
of another, in which they not only do this, but in 
which one of them is begging for problems to find 


out during tlie holidays — botli wliicli facts we state 
on the authority of the teacher. There could in- 
deed be no stronger proofs than are thus afforded 
of the practicability and the immense advantage of 
self-development. A branch of knowledge which 
as commonly taught is dry and even repulsive, 
may, by following the method of nature, be made 
extremely interesting and profoundly beneficial. 
We say profoundly beneficial, because the effects 
are not confined to the gaining of geometrical facts, 
but often revolutionize the whole state of mind. 
It has repeatedly occurred, that those who have 
been stupefied by the ordinary school-drill — by its 
abstract formulas, by its wearisome tasks, by its 
cramming — have suddenly had their intellects 
roused, by thus ceasing to make them passive 
recipients, and inducing them to become active 
discoverers. Tlie discouragement brought about 
by bad teaching having been diminished by a little 
sympathy, and sufficient perseverance induced to 
achieve a first success, there arises a revulsion of 
feeling affecting the whole nature. They no longer 
find themselves incompetent ; they too can do 
something. And gradually as success follows suc- 
cess, the incubus of despair disappears, and they 
attack the difficulties of their other studies with 
a courage that insures conquest. 

This empirical geometry which presents an end- 
less series of problems, and should be continued 
along with other studies for years, may throughout 
be advantageously accompanied by those concrete 


applications of its principles which serve as its pre- 
liminary. After the cube, the octahedron, and the 
various forms of pyramid and prism have been 
mastered, may come the more complex regular 
bodies — the dodt^cahedron, and the icosahedron — 
to construct which out of single pieces of cardboard 
requires considerable ingenuity. From these, the 
transition may naturally be made to such' modified 
forms of the regular bodies as are met with in crys- 
tals — the truncated cube, the cube with itsdiliedral 
as well as its solid angles truncated, the octahedron 
and the various prisms as similarly modified ; in 
imitating which numerous forms assumed by differ- 
ent metals and salts, an acquaintance with tlie 
leading facts of mineralogy will be incidentally 
gained. After long continuance in exercises of 
this kind, rational geometry, as may be supposed, 
presents no obstacles. Constantly habituated to 
contemplate relationships of form and quantity, and 
vaguely perceiving from time to time the necessity 
of certain results as reached by certain means, the 
pupil comes to regard the demonstrations of Eu- 
clid as the missing supplements to his familiar 
problems. His well-disciplined faculties enable 
him easily to master its successive propositions, and 
to appreciate their value ; and he has the occasional 
gratification of finding some of his own methods 
proved to be true. Tlius he enjoys what is to the 
unprej)ared a dreary task. It only remains to add, 
that his mind will presently arrive at a fit condition 
for that most valuable of all exercises for the re* 


flective faculties — the making of original demon- 
strations. Such theorems as those appended to the 
successive books of the Messrs. Chambers' Euclid, 
will soon become practicable to him ; and in prov- 
ing them the process of self-development will be 
not intellectual only, but moral. 

To continue much further these suggestions 
would be to write a detailed treatise on education, 
which we do not purpose. The foregoing outlines 
of plans for exercising the perceptions in early 
childhood for conducting object-lessons for teaching 
drawing and geometry, must be considered as 
roughly-sketched illustrations of the method dic- 
tated by the general principles previously specified. 
We believe that on examination they will be found 
not only to progress from the simple to the complex, 
from the concrete to the abstract, from the empirical 
to the rational ; but to satisfy the further require- 
ments that education shall be a repetition of civiliza- 
tion in little, that it shall be as much as possible a 
process of self-evolution, and that it shall be pleas- 
urable. That there should be one type of method 
capable of satisfying all these conditions, tends alike 
to verify the conditions, and to prove that type of 
method the right one. And when we add that this 
method is the logical outcome of the tendency, 
characterizing all modern systems of instruction — - 
that it is Ijut an adoption in full of the method of 
nature which they adopt partially — that it displays 
this complete adoption of the method of nature, not 
only by conforming to the above principles, but by 


following the suggestions wliicli the unfolding mind 
itself gives, facilitating its spontaneous activities, 
and so aiding tlie developments which nature is 
busy with — when we add this, there seems abun- 
dant reason to conclude, that the mode of procedure 
above exemplified, closely approximates to the true 

A few paragraphs must be appended in further 
inculcation of the two general principles, alike the 
most important and the least attended to : we mean 
the principle that throughout youth, as in early 
childhood and in maturity, the process shall be one 
of self-instruction ; and the obverse principle, that 
the mental action induced by this process shall be 
throughout intrinsically grateful. If progression from 
simple to complex, and from concrete to abstract, be 
considered the essential requirements as dictated by 
abstract psychology, then do these requirements 
that knowledge shall be self-mastered, and pleasur- 
ably mastered, become the tests by which we may 
judge whether the dictates of abstract psychology 
are being fulfilled. K the first embody the leading 
generalizations of the science of mental growth, the 
last are the chief canons of the art of fostering men- 
tal growth. For manifestly if the steps in our 
curriculum are so arranged that they can be suc- 
cessively ascended by the pupil himself with little 
or no help, they must correspond with the stages 
of evolution i*" his faculties ; and manifestly if the 
Buccessive achievements of these steps are intriusi- 


cally gratifying to liim, it follows that they require 
uo more than a normal exercise of his powers. 

But the making education a process of self- 
evolution has other advantages than this of keeping 
our lessons in the right order. In the first place, it 
guarantees a vividness and permanency of impres- 
sion which the usual methods can never produce. 
Any piece of knowledge which the pupil has him- 
self accpiired, any problem which he has himself 
solved, becomes by virtue of the conquest much 
more thoroughly his than it could else be. Tlie 
preliminary activity of mind which his success im- 
plies, the concentration of thought necessary to it, 
and the excitement consequent on his triumph, con- 
spire to register all the facts in his memory in a 
way that no mere information heard from a teacher, 
or read in a school-book, can be registered. Even 
if he fails, the tension to which his faculties have 
been wound up insures his remembrance of the 
solution when given to him, better than half a 
dozen repetitions would. Observe again, that this 
discipline necessitates a continuous organization of 
the knowledge he acquires. It is in the very 
nature of facts and inferences, assimilated in this 
nonnal manner, that they successively become the 
premisses of further conclusions, — the means of 
solving still further questions. Tlie solution of 
yesterday's problem helps the pupil in master- 
ing to-day's. Thus the knowledge is turned into 
faculty as soon as it is taken in, and forthwith aids 
in the general function of thinking — does not lie 


merely written in the pages of an internal lil)rarv, 
as when rote-learnt. Mark further, the impor- 
tance of the moral culture which this constant self- 
help involves. Courage in attacking difheulties, 
patient concentration of the attention, perseverance 
through failures — these are characteristics which 
after-life specially requires ; and these are charac- 
teristics which this system of making the mind 
work for its food specially produces. That it is 
thoroughly practicable to carry out instruction after 
this fashion we can ourselves testify ; having been 
in youth thus led to successively solve the com- 
paratively complex problems of Persj)ective. And 
that leading teachers have been gradually tending 
in this direction is indicated alike in the saying of 
Fellenberg, that " the individual, independent ac- 
tivity of the pupil is of much greater importance 
than the ordinary busy officiousness of many who 
assume the office of educators ; " in the opinion 
of Horace Mann, that " unfortunately education 
amongst us at present consists too much in idling^ 
not in training 'j'''' and in the remark of M. Marcel, 
that " what the learner discovers by mental exer- 
tion is better known than what is told to him.'' 

Similarly with the correlative requirement, that 
the method of culture pursued shall be one produc- 
tive of an intrinsically happy activity, — an activity 
not happy in virtue of extrinsic rewards to be ob- 
tained, but in virtue of its own healthfulness. Con- 
formity to this requirement not only guards us 
against thwarting the normal process of evolution, 


but incidentally secures positive benefits of im- 
portance. Unless we are to return to an ascetic 
morality, the maintenance of youthful happiness 
must be considered as in itself a worthy aim. Not 
to dwell upon this, however, we go on to remark 
that a pleasurable state of feeling is far more favour- 
able to intellectual action than one of indifference 
or disgust. Every one knows that things read, 
heard, or seen with interest, are better remembered 
than those read, heard, or seen with apathy. In 
the one case the faculties appealed to are actively 
occupied with the subject presented ; in the other 
they are inactively occupied with it ; and the atten- 
tion is continually drawn away after more attractive 
thoughts. Hence the impressions are respectively 
strong and weak. Moreover, the intellectual list- 
lessness which a pupil's lack of interest in any study 
involves, is further complicated by his anxiety, by 
his fear of consequences, which distract his attention, 
and increase the difficulty he finds in bringing his 
faculties to bear upon these facts that are repugnant 
to them. Clearly, therefore, the efliciency of any 
intellectual action will, other things equal, be pro- 
portionate to the gratification with which it is per- 

It should be considered also, that impor- 
tant moral consequences depend upon the habitual 
pleasure or pain which daily lessons produce. Ko 
one can compare the faces and manners of two l)oys 
— the one made happy by mastering interesting 
Bubjects, and the other made miserable by disgust 


with his studies, by consequent faihire, by cold 
looks, by tlireats, by punishment — without seeiug 
that the disposition of the one is being benefited, 
and that of the other greatly injured. Whoever 
has marked the effect of intellectual success upon 
the mind, and the power of the mind over tlie 
body, will see that in the one case both temper and 
health are favourably affected ; whilst in the other 
there is danger of permanent moroseness, of per- 
manent timidity, and even of permanent constitu- 
tional depression. To all which considerations we 
must add the further one, that the relationship be- 
tween teachers and their pupils is, other things 
equal, rendered friendly and influential, or antag- 
onistic and powerless, according as the system of 
culture produces liap})iness or misery. Human 
beings are at the mercy of their associated ideas. 
A daily minister of pain cannot fail to be regarded 
with a secret dislike, and if he causes no emotions 
but painful ones, will inevitably be hated. Con- 
versely, he who constantly aids children to their 
ends, hourly provides them with the satisfactions 
of conquest, hourly encourages them through their 
difiiculties and sympathizes in their successes, can- 
not fail to be liked ; nay, if his behaviour is con- 
sistent throughout, must be loved. And when we 
remember how efficient and benign is the control 
of a master who is felt to be a friend, when com- 
pared with the control of one who is looked upon 
with aversion, or at best indifference, we may infer 
that the indirect advantages of conducting educa- 


tion on the happiness principle do not fall far short 
of the direct ones. To all who question the possi- 
bility of acting out the system here advocated, we 
reply as before, that not only does theory point to 
it, but experience commends it. To the many ver- 
dicts of distinguished teachers who since Pestalozzi's 
time have testified this, may be here added that of 
Professor Pillans, who asserts that " where young 
people are taught as they ought to be, they are 
quite as happy in school as at play, seldom less 
delighted, nay, often more, with the well-directed 
exercise of their mental energies, than with that of 
tlieir muscular powers." 

As suggesting a final reason for making educa- 
tion a process of self-instruction, and by conse- 
quence a process of pleasurable instruction, we may 
advert to the fact that, in proportion as it is made 
so, is there a probability that education will not 
cease when school-days end. As long as the ac- 
quisition of knowledge is rendered habitually re- 
pugnant, so long will there be a prevailing tendency 
to discontinue it when free from the coercion of 
parents and masters. And when the aequisitiou of 
knowledge has been rendered habitually gratifying, 
then will there be as prevailing a tendency to con- 
tinue, without superintendence, that same self-culture 
previously carried on under superintendence. These 
results are inevitable. While the laws of mental 
association remain true — while men dislike the 
things and places that suggest painful recollec- 
tions, and delight in those which call to mind by- 



gone pleasures — ^painful lessons will make knowl« 
edge repulsive, and pleasurable lessons will make it 
attractive. Tlie men to whom in boyliood informa- 
tion came in dreary tasks along with threats of 
punishment, and who were never led into habits of 
independent inquiry, are unlikely to be students in 
after years ; while those to whom it came in the 
natural forms, at the proper times, and who remem- 
ber its facts as not only interesting in themselves, 
but as the occasions of a long series of gratifying 
successes, are likely to continue through life that 
self-instruction commenced in youth. 



Straj^gely enough, tlie most glaring defect in 
our programmes of education is entirely overlooked. 
While much is being done in the detailed improve- 
ment of our systems in respect both of matter and 
manner, the most pressing desideratum has not yet 
been even recognised as a desideratum. To prepare 
the young for the duties of life is tacitly admitted 
by all to be the end which parents and school- 
masters should have in view ; and happily the value 
of the things taught, and the goodness of the meth- 
od followed in teaching them, are now ostensibly 
judged by their fitness to this end. The propriety 
of substituting for an exclusively classical training 
a trainino; in which the modern lanfi::uai>:es shall 
have a share, is argued on this ground. The neces- 
sity of increasing the amount of science is urged 
for like reasons. But though some care is taken to 
fit youth of both sexes for society and citizenship-, 
no care whatever is taken to fit them for the still 
more important position they will ultimately have 
to fill — the position of parents. While it is seen 
tliat for the purpose of gaining a livelihood, an 
elaborate preparation is needed, it appears to bo 


tliouglit that for the bringing up of children, no 
preparation whatever is needed. While many years 
are spent by a boy in gaining knowledge, of which 
the chief value is that it constitutes ' the education 
of a gentleman ; ' and while many years are spent 
by a girl in those decorative acquirements which 
fit her for evening parties ; not an hour is spent by 
either of them in preparation for that gravest of all 
responsibilities — the management of a family. Is 
it that this responsibility is but a remote contin- 
gency ? On the contrary, it is certain to devolve 
on nine out of ten. Is it that the discharge of 
it is easy ? Certainly not : of all functions which 
the adult has to fulfil this is the most diflicult. Is 
it that each may be trusted by self-instruction to fit 
himself, or herself, for the oifice of parent ? Ko : 
not only is the need for such self-instruction unrecog- 
nised, but the complexity of the subject renders it 
the one of all others in which self-instruction is least 
likely to succeed. No rational plea can be put for- 
ward for leaving the Art of Education out of our 
curriculum. Whether as bearing upon the happi- 
ness of parents themselves, or whether as afi'ecting 
the characters and lives of their children and re- 
mote descendants, we must admit that a knowledge 
of the right methods of juvenile culture, physical, 
intellectual, and moral, is a knowledge second to 
none in importance. This topic should occupy the 
highest and last place in the course of instruction 
passed through by each man and woman. As 
physical maturity is marked by the ability to prO' 


diice offspring, so mental maturity is marked by the 
ability to train those offspring. Tlie subject vjfiich 
involves all other subjects^ and therefore the subject 
in which the education of every one should culminate^ 
is the Theory and Practice of Education. 

In tlie absence of this preparation, the manage- 
ment of children, and more especially the moral 
management, is lamentably bad. Parents either 
never think about the matter at all, or else their 
conclusions are crude and inconsistent. Li most 
cases, and especially on the part of mothers, the 
treatment adopted on every occasion is that which 
the impulse of the moment prompts : it springs not 
from any reasoned-out conviction as to what will 
most conduce to the child's welfare, but merely ex- 
presses the passing parental feelings, whether good 
or ill ; and varies from hour to hour as these feel- 
ings vary. Or if these blind dictates of passion 
are supplemented by any definite doctrines and 
methods, they are those that liave been handed 
down from the past, or those suggested by the re- 
membrances of childliood, or those adopted from 
nurses and servants — methods devised not by the 
enlightenment, but by the ignorance of the time. 
Commenting on the chaotic state of opinion and 
practice relative to family government, Richter 
writes : — 

" If the secret variances of a large class of ordinary fathers 
were brought to light, and laid down as a plan of studies, and 
reading catalogued for a moral education, they would run 
Mjmewhat after this fashion : — In the first hour ' pure morality 


must be read to the child, either by myself or the tutor ; ' in 
the second, ' mixed morality, or that which may he applied tn 
one's own advantage ; ' in the third, ' do you not see that your 
father does so and so ? ' in the fourth, ' you are little, and this 
is only fit for grown-up ])eople ; ' in the fifth, ' the chief matter 
is that you should succeed in the world, and become some- 
thing in the state ; ' in the sixth, ' not the temporary, but 
the eternal, determines the worth of a man ; ' in the seventh, 
' therefore rather suffer injustice, and be kind ; ' in the eighth, 
' but defend yourself bravely if any one attack you ; ' in the 
ninth, ' do not make a noise, dear child ; ' in the tenth, ' a boy 
must not sit so quiet ; ' in the eleventh, ' you must obey your 
parents better ; ' in the twelfth, ' and educate yourself.' So 
by the liourly change of his principles, the father conceals 
their untenableness and onesidedness. As for his wife, she is 
neither like him, nor yet like that harlequin who came on to 
the stage with a bundle of papers under each arm, and an- 
swered to the inquiry, what he had under his right arm, 
'orders,' and to what he had under his left arm, 'counter- 
orders.' But the mother might be much better compared to a 
giant Briareus, who had a hundred arms, and a bundle of 
papers under each." 

Tliis state of things is not to be readily changed. 
Generations ninst pass before any great amelioration 
of it can be expected. Like political constitutions, 
educational systems are not made, but grow ; and 
within brief periods growth is insensible. Slow, 
however, as must be any improvement, even that 
improvement implies the use of means j and among 
the means is discussion. 

We are not among those who believe in Lord 
Palmerston's dogma, that " all children are born 


good." On tlio whole, the opposite dogma, unten- 
able as it is, seems to us less wide of the truth. 
Kor do we agree with those who think that, by 
skilful discipline, children may be made altogether 
what they should be. Contrariwise, we are satisfied 
that though imperfections of nature may be di- 
minished by wise management, they cannot be re- 
moved by it. The notion that an ideal humanity 
might be forthwith produced by a perfect system 
of education, is near akin to that shadowed forth in 
the poems of Shelley, that would mankind give up 
their old institutions, ])rejudices, and errors, all the 
evils in the world would at once disappear : neither 
notion being acceptable to such as have dispassion- 
ately studied human affairs. 

Not that we are without sympathy with those 
who entertain these too sanguine hopes. Enthu- 
siasm, pushed even to fanaticism, is a useful motive- 
power — perhaps an indispensable one. It is clear 
that the ardent politician would never undergo the 
labours and make the sacrifices he does, did he not 
believe that the reform he fights for is the one thing 
needful. But for his conviction that drunkenness 
is the root of almost all social evils, the teetotaller 
would agitate far less energetically. In philan- 
thropy as in other things great advantage results 
from division of labour ; and that there may be 
division of labour, each class of philanthropists 
must be more or less subordinated to its function — 
must have an exaggerated faith in its work. Hence, 
of those who regard education, intellectual or moral, 


as the panacea, we may sav that their undue ex- 
pectations are not without use ; and that perliaps it 
is part of the beneiicent order of things that their 
confidence cannot be shaken. 

Even were it true, however, that by some pos- 
sible system of moral government children could 
be moulded into the desired form ; and even could 
every parent be duly indoctrinated with this sys- 
tem ; we should still be far from achieving the 
object in view. It is forgotten that the carrying 
out of any such system presupposes, on the part of 
adults, a degree of intelligence, of goodness, of self- 
control, possessed by no one. Tlie great error made 
by those who discuss questions of juvenile disci- 
pline, is in ascribing all the faults and difficulties 
to the children, and none to the parents. The 
current assumption resi^ecting family government, 
as respecting national government, is, that the 
virtues are with the rulers and the vices with 
the ruled. Judging by educational theories, men 
and women are entirely transfigured in the do- 
mestic relation. The citizens we do business with, 
the people we meet in the world, we all know to be 
very imperfect creatures. In the daily scandals, in 
the quarrels of friends, in bankruptcy disclosures, 
in lawsuits, in police reports, we have constantly 
thrust before us the pervading selfishness, dishon- 
esty, brutality. Yet when we criticise nursery 
management, and canvass the misbehaviour of ju- 
veniles, we habitually take for granted that these 
culpable men and women are free from moral de- 


/inquencj in the treatment of tlieir offspring ! So 
far is this from the truth, that we do not hesitate to 
say that to parental misconduct is traceable a great 
part of the domestic disorder commonly ascribed to 
the perversity of children. We do not assert this 
of the more sympathetic and self restrained, among 
whom we hope most of our readers may be classed, 
but we assert it of the mass. What kind of moral 
discipline is to be expected from a mother who, 
time after time, angrily shakes her infant because 
it will not suckle her, which we once saw a mother 
do ? How niucli love of justice and generosity is 
likely to be instilled by a father- who, on having his 
attention drawn by his child's scream to the fact 
that its finger is jarnnicd between the window sash 
and the sill, forthwith begins to beat the child in- 
stead of releasing it ? Yet that there are snch 
fathers is testified to us by an eye-witness. Or, to 
take a still stronger case, also vouched for by direct 
testimony — what are the educational prospects of 
the boy who, on being taken home with a dislocated 
thigh, is saluted with a castigation ? It is true that 
these are extreme instances — instances exhibiting 
in human beings tliat blind instinct which impels 
brutes to destroy the weakly and injured of their 
own race. But extreme though they are, they 
t}^ify feelings and conduct daily observable in 
many families. Who has not repeatedly seen a 
child slapped by nurse or parent for a fretfulness 
probably resulting from bodily derangement ? Who, 
when watching a mother snatch up a fallen littlo 


one, has not often traced, Loth in the rough man- 
ner and in the sharply-uttered exclamation — ' You 
stupid little thing ! ' — an irascibility foretelling 
endless future squabbles ? Is there not in the harsh 
tones in -which a father bids his children be quiet, 
evidence of a deficient fellow-feeling with them ? 
Are not the constant, and often quite needless, 
thwartings that the 3'oung experience — the injunc- 
tions to sit still, which an active child cannot obey 
without sufi'ering great nervous irritation, the com- 
mands not to look out of the window when travel- 
ling by railway, which on a child of any intelli- 
gence entails serious deprivation — are not these 
thwartings, we ask, signs of a terrible lack of sym- 
pathy ? The truth is, that the difliculties of moral 
education are necessarily of dual origin — necessar- 
ily result from the combined faults of parents and 
children. If hereditary transmission is a law of 
nature, as every naturalist knows it to be, and as 
our daily remarks and current proverbs admit it to 
be ; then on the average of cases, the defects of 
children mirror the defects of their parents ; — on the 
average of cases, we say, because, complicated as 
the results are by the transmitted traits of remoter 
ancestors, the correspondence is not special but 
only general. And if, on the average of cases, this 
inheritance of defects exists, then the evil passions 
which parents have to check in their children imply 
like evil passions in themselves : hidden, it may be, 
from the public eye ;or perhaps obscured by other 
feelings ; but still there. Evidently, therefore, the 


geoeral practice of any ideal system of discipline is 
hopeless : parents are not good enough. 

Moreover, even were there methods by which 
the desired end could be at once effected, and even 
had fathers and mothers sufficient insight, sym- 
pathy, and self-command to employ these methods 
consistently, it might still be contended that it 
would be of no use to reform family discipline faster 
than other things are reformed. What is it that 
we aim to do ? Is it not that education of what- 
ever kind has for its proximate end to prepare a 
child for the business of life — to produce a citizen 
who, at the same time that he is well conducted, is 
also able to make his way in the world ? And does 
not making his way in the world (by which we 
mean, not the acquirement of wealth, but of the 
means requisite for properly bringing up a family) 
— does not this imply a certain iitness for the world 
as it now is ? And if by any system of culture an 
ideal human being could be produced, is it not 
doubtful whether he would be ht for the world as 
it now is ? May we not, on the contrary, suspect 
tliat his too keen sense of rectitude, and too elevated 
standard of conduct, would make life alike intoler- 
able and impossible ? And however admirable the 
results might be, considered individually, would it 
not be self-defeating in so far as society and poster- 
ity are concerned ? It may, we think, be argued 
with much reason, that as in a nation so in a fam- 
ily, the kind of government is, on the whole, about 
as good as the general state of human nature per- 


mits it to be. It may be said that in the one ease, 
as in the other, the average character of the people 
determines the quality of the control exercised. It 
may be inferred that in both cases amelioration of 
the average character leads to an amelioration of 
system ; and further, that were it possible to ame- 
liorate the system ■without the average character 
being first ameliorated, evil, rather than good, 
would follow. It may be urged that such degree 
of harshness as children now experience from their 
parents and teachers, is but a preparation for that 
greater harshness which they will meet with on 
entering the world ; and that were it possible for 
parents and teachers to behave towards them with 
perfect equity and entire sympathy, it would but 
intensify the sufferings which the selfishness of men 
must, in after life, inflict on them.* 

* This is the plea put in by some for the rough treatment ex- 
perienced by boys at our public schools ; where, as it is said, they 
are introduced to a miniature world whose imperfections and hard- 
ships prepare them for those of the real world : and it must be 
admitted that the plea has some force. But it is a very insuflScient 
plea. For whereas domestic and school discipline, though they 
should not be very much better than the discipline of adult life, 
should at any rate bo somewhat better; the discipline which boys 
m'^et with at Eton, Winchester, Harrow, &c., is much worse than 
that of adult life — much more unjust, cruel, brutal. Instead of being 
an aid to human progress, which all culture should be, the culture 
©f our public schools, by accustoming boys to a despotic form of 
government and an intercourse regulated by brute force, tends to fit 
them for a lower state of society than that which exists. And 
chiefly recruited as our legislature is from among those who are 
brought up at these schools, this barbarizing influence becomes a 
serious hindrance to national progress. 


" But does not this prove too much ? " some one 
will ask. " If no system of moral culture can forth- 
with make children altogether what they should 
be ; if, even were there a system that would do 
this, existing parents are too imperfect to carry it 
out ; and if even could such a system be success- 
fully caried out, its results would be disastrously 
incongruous with the present state of society ; does 
it not follow that a reform in the system now in 
use is neither practicable nor desirable ? " No. It 
merely follows that reform in domestic government 
must go on, pari passu, "with other reforms. It 
merely follows that methods of discipline neither 
can be nor should be ameliorated, except hy instal- 
ments. It merely follows that the dictates of ab- 
stract rectitude will, in practice, inevitably be sub- 
ordinated by the present state of human nature — 
by the imperfections alike of children, of parents, 
and of society ; and can only be better fulfilled as 
the general character becomes better. 

" At any rate, then," may rejoin our critic, " it 
is clearly nseless to set up any ideal standard of 
family discipline. Tliere can be no advantage in 
elaborating and recommending methods that are in 
advance of the time." Again "we must contend for 
the contrary. Just as in the case of political gov- 
ernment, though pure rectitude may be at present 
impracticable, it is requisite to know where the 
right lies, so that the changes we make may be 
Urtjoards the right instead of aicay from it ; so in 
the case of domestic government, an ideal must be 


upheld, that there may be gradual approximations 
to it. We need fear no evil consequences from the 
maintenance of such an ideal. On the average the 
constitutional conservatism of mankind is always 
strong enough to prevent a too rapid change. So 
admirable are the arrangements of things that until 
men have grown up to the level of a higher belief, 
they cannot receive it : nominally, they may hold 
it, but not virtually. And even when the truth 
gets recognised, the obstacles to conformity with it 
are so persistent as to outlive the patience of phi- 
lanthropists and even philosophers. We may be 
quite sure, therefore, that the many difficulties 
standing in the way of a normal government of 
children, will always put an adequate check upon 
the efforts to realize it. 

With these preliminary explanations, let us go 
on to consider the true aims and methods of moral 
education — moral education, strictly so called, we 
mean ; for we do not j^ropose to enter upon the 
question of religious education as an aid to the 
education exclusively moral. Tliis we omit as a 
topic better dealt with separately. After a few 
pages devoted to the settlement of general prin- 
ciples, during the perusal of which we bespeak the 
reader's patience, we shall aim by illustrations to 
make clear the right methods of parental behaviour 
in the hourly occurring difficulties of family gov- 

When a child falls, or runs its head against the 


table, it suffers a pain, the remembrance of wMcb 
tends to make it more careful for the future ; and 
by an occasional repetition of like experiences, it is 
eventually disciplined into a proper guidance of its 
movements. If it lays hold of the fire-bars, thrusts 
its linger into the candle-flame, or sj)ills boiling 
water on any part of its skin, the resulting burn 
or scald is a lesson not easily forgotten. So deep 
an impression is produced by one or two such 
events, that afterwards no persuasion will induce it 
again to disregard the laws of its constitution in 
these ways. 

Now in these and like cases, oSTature illustrates 
to us in the simplest way, the true theory and 
practice of moral discipline — a theory and practice 
which, however much they may seem to the super- 
ficial like those commonly received, we shall find on 
examination to differ from them very widely. 

Observe, in the first place, that in bodily in- 
juries and their penalties we have misconduct and 
its consequences reduced to their simplest forms. 
Though, according to tlieir popular acceptations, 
right and wrony are words scarcely applicable to 
actions that have none but direct bodily effects ; 
yet whoever considers the matter will see that such 
actions must be as much classifiable under these 
heads as any other actions. From whatever basis 
they start, all theories of morality agree in con- 
sidering that conduct whose total results, immediate 
and remote, are beneficial, is good conduct ; while 
conduct whose total results, immediate and remote 


are injurious, is bad conduct. The liappiness or 
misery caused by it are tlie ultimate standards by 
■wbicli all men judge of behaviour. We consider 
drunkenness wrong because of the physical degen- 
eracy and accompanying moral evils entailed on 
the transgressor and his dependents. Did theft 
uniforndy give pleasure both to taker and loser, we 
should not find it in our catalogue of sins. "Were 
it conceivable that benevolent actions multiplied 
human pains, we should condemn them — should 
not consider them benevolent. It needs but to 
read the first newspaj)er leader, or listen to any 
conversation touching social affairs, to see that acts 
of parliament, political movements, philanthropic 
agitations, in common with the doings of individ- 
uals, are judged by their anticipated results in 
multiplying the pleasures or pains of men. And if 
on looking on all secondary superinduced ideas, we 
find these to be our ultimate tests of right and 
wrong, we cannot refuse to class purely physical 
actions as right or wrong according to the beneficial 
or detrimental results they produce. 

Kote, in the second place, the character of the 
punishments by which these physical transgressions 
are prevented. Punishments, we call them, in the 
absence of a better word ; for they are not punish- 
ments in the literal sense. They are not artificial 
and unnecessary inflictior.s of pain ; but are simply 
the beneficent checks to actions that are essentially 
at variance with bodily welfare — checks in the ab- 
sence of which life would quickly be destroyed by 


bodily injuries. It is the peculiarity of these pen- 
alties, if we must so call them, that they are noth- 
ing more than the unavoidable consequences of the 
deeds which they follow : they are nothing more 
than the inevitable reactions entailed by the child's 

Let it be further borne in mind that these pain- 
ful reactions are proportionate to the degree in 
which the organic laws have been transgressed. A 
slight accident brings a slight pain, a more serious 
one, a greater pain. When a child tumbles over 
the door-step, it is not ordained that it shall sufler 
in excess of the amount necessary, with the view 
of making it still more cautious than the necessary 
suffering will make it. But from its daily expe- 
rience it is left to learn the greater or less penalties 
of greater or less errors ; and to behave accord- 

And then mark, lastly, that these natural reac- 
tions which follow the child's wrong actions, are 
constant, direct, unhesitating, and not to be es- 
caped. No threats : but a silent, rigorous perform- 
ance. If a child runs a pin into its finger, pain 
follows. If it does it again, there is again the same 
result : and so on perpetually. In all its dealings 
with surrounding inorganic nature it finds this un- 
swerving persistence, which listens to no excuse, 
and from which there is no appeal ; and very soon 
recognising this stern though beneficent discipline, 
it becomes extremely careful not to transgress. 

Still more sio-nificant will these cceneral truths 



a])pcar, wlien we reracinber tliat they hold tlirough- 
out adult life as well as throughout infantine life. 
It is by an experimentally-gained knowledge of the 
natural consequences, that men and women are 
checked when they go wrong. After home educa- 
tion has ceased, and when there are no longer par- 
ents and teachers to forbid this or that kind of 
conduct, there comes into play a discipline like that 
by which the young child is taught its first lessons 
in self-guidance. K the youth entering upon the 
business of life idles away his time and fulfils slowly 
or unskilfully the duties entrusted to him, there by- 
and-bye follows the natural penalty : he is dis- 
charged, and left to suffer for awhile the eyils of 
relatiye poyerty. On the unpunetual man, fjiiling 
alike his appointments of business and pleasure, 
there continually fall the consequent inconveniences, 
losses, and deprivations. Tlie avaricious tradesman 
who charges too high a rate of profit, loses his cus- 
tomers, and so is checked in his greediness. Di- 
minishing practice teaches the inattentive doctor to 
bestow more trouble on his patients. The too 
credulous creditor and the over-sanguine specula- 
tor alike learn by the difficulties which rashness 
entails on them, the necessity of being more cau- 
tious in their engagements. And so throughout 
the life of every citizen. In the' quotatit^n so often 
made apropos of these cases — " Tlie burnt child 
dreads the fire " — we see not only that the analogy 
between this social discipline and Xature's early 
discipline of infants is universally recognised ; but 

nature's method with adults. 177 

we also see an implied conviction that this disci- 
pline is of the most efficient kind. Nay more, this 
conviction is not only implied, but distinctly stated* 
.Every one has heard othoi-s confess that only by 
'' dearly bought experience " had they been induced 
io give np some bad or foolish course of conduct 
fonnerly pursued. Every one has heard, in the 
criticisms passed on the doings of this spendthrift 
or the other speculator, the remark that advice was 
useless, and that nothing but " bitter experience " 
would produce any effect : nothing, that is, but 
suffering the unavoidable consequences. And if 
further proof be needed that the penalty of the 
natural reaction is not only the most efficient, but 
that no humanly-devised penalty can replace it, we 
have such further proof in the notorious ill-success 
of our various penal systems. Out of the many 
methods of criminal discipline that have been pro- 
posed and legally enforced, none have answered the 
expectations of their advocates. Not only have 
artificial punishments failed to produce reformation, 
but they have in many cases increased the criminal- 
ity. The only successful reformatories are those 
privately-established ones which have approximated 
their regime to the method of Nature — which have 
done little more than administer the natural conse- 
quences of criminal conduct : the natural conse° 
quences being, that by imprisonment or other re= 
straint, the criminal shall have his liberty of action 
diminished as much as is needful for the safety of 
eociety ; and that he shall be made to maintain hinr 


self while living under this restraint. Tlius we see 
not only that the discipline by which the young child 
is so successfully taught to regulate its movements 
is also the discipline by which the great mass of 
adults are kept in order, and more or less improved ; 
but that the discipline humanly-devised for the 
worst adults, fails when it diverges from this divine- 
ly-ordained discipline, and begins to succeed when 
it approximates to it. 

Have we not here, then, the guiding principle 
of moral education ? Must we not infer that the 
system so beneficent in its effects, alike during in- 
fancy and maturity, will be equally beneficent 
throughout youth ? Can any one believe that the 
method which answers so well in the first and the 
last divisions of life will not answer in the inter- 
mediate division ? Is it not manifest that as " min- 
isters and interpreters of Kature " it is the function 
of parents to see that their children habitually ex- 
perience the true consequences of their conduct — 
the natural reactions : neither warding them ofi", 
nor intensifying them, nor putting artificial conse- 
quences in place of them ? No unprejudiced reader 
will hesitate in his assent. 

Probably, however, not a few will contend that 
already most parents do this — that the punisiiments 
they inflict are, in the majority of cases, the true 
consequences of ill-conduct — that parental anger, 
renting itself in harsh words and deeds, is the re- 
sult of a child's trans<j;ression — and that, in tlie 


Buffering, physical or moral, which the child is 
subject to, it experiences the natural reaction of its 
misbehaviour. Along with much error this asser- 
tion, doubtless, contains some truth. It is unques- 
tionable that the displeasure of fathers and mothers 
is a true consequence of juvenile delinquency ; and 
that the manifestation of it is a normal check upon 
such delinquency. It is unquestionable that the 
scoldings, and threats, and blows, which a passion- 
ate parent visits on offending little ones, are effects 
actually produced in such a parent by their of- 
fences ; and so are, in some sort, to be considered 
as among the natural reactions of their wrong ac- 
tions. And we are by no means prepared to say 
that these modes of treatment are not relatively 
right — right, that is, in relation to the uncontrol- 
lable cliildren of ill-controlled adults ; and right in 
relation to a state of society in which such ill-con- 
trolled adults make up the mass of the people. As 
already suggested, educational systems, like politi- 
cal and other institutions, are generally as good as 
the state of human nature permits. The barbarous 
children of barbarous parents are probably only to 
be restrained by the barbarous methods which such 
parents spontaneously employ ; while submission 
to these barbarous methods is perhaps the best prep- 
aration such children can have for the barbarous 
society in which they are presently to play a part. 
Conversely, the civilized members of a civilized 
society will spontaneously manifest their dis])leas- 
ure in less violent ways — will spontaneously uae 


milder measures : measures strong enough for their 
better-natured children. Tlius it is doubtless true 
that, in so far as the expression of parental feeling 
is concerned, the principle of the natural reaction 
is always more or less followed. The system of 
domestic government ever gravitates towards its 
right form. 

But now observe two important facts. In the 
first place, observe that, in states of rapid transition 
like ours, which witness a long-drawn battle be- 
tween old and new theories and old and new prac- 
tices, the educational methods in use are apt to 
be considerably out of harmony with the times. 
In deference to dogmas fit only for the ages that 
uttered them, many parents inflict punishments 
that do violence to their own feelings, and so visit 
on their children -jmnatural reactions ; while other 
parents, enthusiastic in their hopes of immediate 
perfection, rush to the opposite extreme. And then 
observe, in the second place, that the discipline on 
which we are insisting is not so much the expe- 
rience of parental approbation or disapprobation, 
which, in most cases, is only a secondary conse- 
quence of a child's conduct ; but it is the experience 
of those results which would naturally flow from 
the conduct in the absence of parental opinion or 
interference. Tlie truly instructive and salutary 
consequences are not those inflicted by parents 
when they take upon themselves to be Kature's 
proxies ; but they are those inflicted by Nature 
herself. We will endeavour to make this distinc- 


tion clear hj a few illustrations, wliicli, while they 
show what we mean by natural reactions as con- 
trasted with artificial ones, will alford some directly 
practical suggestions. 

In every family where there are young children 
there almost daily occur cases of what mothers and 
servants call " making a litter." A child has had 
out its box of toys, and leaves them scattered about 
the floor. Or a handful of flowers, brought in from 
a morning walk, is presently seen disj)ersed over 
tables and chairs. Or a little girl, making doll's- 
clothes, disfigures the room with shreds. In most 
cases the trouble of rectifying this disorder falls 
anywhere but in the right place : if in the nursery, 
the nurse herself, with many grumblings about 
" tiresome little things," &c., undertakes the task ; 
if below stairs, the task usually devolves either on 
one of the elder children or on the housemaid ; the 
transgi-essor being visited with nothing more than 
a scolding. In this very simple case, however, 
there are many parents wise enough to follow out, 
more or less consistently, the normal course — that 
of making the child itself collect the toys or shreds. 
The labour of putting things in order is the true 
consequence of having put them in disorder. Every 
trader in his oflSce, every wife in her household, 
has daily experience of this fact. And if education 
be a preparation for the business of life, then every 
child should also, from the beginning, have daily 
experience of this fact. If the natural penalty be 
met by any refractory behaviour (which it may 


perhaps be where the general system of moral dis- 
cipliue previously j^ursued has been bad), then the 
proper course is to let the child feel the ulterior re- 
action consequent on its disobedience. Having re- 
fused or neglected to jiick up and put away the 
things it has scattered about, and having thereby 
entailed the trouble of doing this on some one else, 
the child should, on subsequent occasions, be denied 
the means of giving this trouble. "When next it 
petitions for its toy-box, the reply of its mannna 
should be — "Tlie last time you had your toys you 
left them lying on the floor, and Jane had to pick 
them up. Jane is too busy to pick up every day 
the things you leave about ; and I cannot do it 
myself. So that, as you will not put away your 
toys when you have done with them, I cannot let 
you have them." Tliis is obviously a natural con- 
sequence, neither increased nor lessened ; and must 
be so recognised by a child. The penalty comes, 
too, at the moment when it is most keenly felt. A 
new-born desire is balked at the moment of antici- 
pated gratification ; and the strong impression so 
produced can scarcely fail to have an effect on the 
future conduct : an effect which, by consistent rep- 
etition, will do whatever can be done in curing 
the fault. Add to which, that, by this method, a 
child is early taught the lesson which cannot be 
leanit too soon, that in this world of ours pleasures 
are rightly to be obtahied only by labour. 

Take another case. Not long since we had fre- 
quently to listen to the reprimands visited on a 


little girl who was scarcely ever ready in time for 
the daily walk. Of eager disposition, and apt to 
become thoroughly absorbed in the occupation of 
the moment, Constance never thought of putting 
on her things until the rest were ready. Tlie gov- 
erness and the other children had almost invariably 
to wait ;. and from the mamma there almost in- 
variably came the same scolding. Utterly as this 
system failed it never occurred to the mamma to 
let Constance experience the natural penalty. Nor, 
indeed, would she try it when it was suggested to 
her. In the world the penalty of being behind 
time is the loss of some advantage that would else 
have been gained : the train is gone ; or the steam- 
boat is just leaving its moorings ; or the best things 
in the market are sold ; or all the good seats in 
the concert-room are filled. And every one, in 
cases perpetually occurring, may see that it is the 
prospective deprivations entailed by being too late 
which prevent people from being too late. Is not 
the inference obvious ? Should not these prospec- 
tive deprivations control the child's conduct also ? 
If Constance is not ready at the appointed time, the 
natural result is that of being left behind, and losing 
her walk. And no one can, we think, doubt that 
after having once or twice remained at home while 
the rest were enjoying themselves in the fields, and 
after having felt that this loss of a nmch-prized 
gratification was solely due to want of promptitude, 
some amendment would take place. At any rate, 
the measure would be more efi'ective than that per' 


petiial scolding wliicli ends only in producing cal' 

Again, when children, witli more than nsnal 
carelessness, break or lose the things given to them, 
the natural penalty — the penalty which makes 
grown-up persons more careful — is the consequent 
inconvenience. Tlie want of the lost or damaged 
article, and the cost of supplying its place, are the 
experiences by which men and women are disci- 
plined in these matters ; and the experience of chil- 
dren should be as much as possible assimilated to 
theirs. We do not refer to that early period at 
which toys are pulled to pieces in the process of 
learning their physical properties, and at which the 
results of carelessness cannot be understood ; but to 
a later period, Avhen the meaning and advantages 
of property are perceived. "When a boy, old 
enough to possess a penknife, uses it so roughly as 
to snap the blade, or leaves it in the grass by some 
hedge-side, where he was cutting a stick, a thought- 
less parent, or some indulgent relative, will com- 
monly forthwith buy him another; not seeing that, 
by doing this, a valuable lesson is lost. In such a 
case, a father may properly explain that penknives 
cost money, and that to get money requires laboui- ; 
that he cannot afford to purchase new penknives for 
one who loses or breaks them ; and that until he 
sees evidence of greater carefulness he must decline 
to make good the loss. A ])arallel discipline may 
be used as a means of checking extravagance. 

These few familiar instances, here chosen be 


cause of the simplicity witli which they illustrate 
our point, will make clear to every one the distinc- 
tion between those natural penalties which we con- 
tend are the truly efficient ones, and those artificial 
penalties which parents commonly substitute for 
them. Before going on to exhibit the higher and 
subtler applications of this principle, let us note its 
many and great superiorities over tlie principle, or 
rather the empirical practice, which prevails in 
most families. 

In the first place, right conceptions of cause and 
effect are early formed ; and by frequent and con- 
sistent experience are eventually rendered definite 
and complete. Proper conduct in life is much 
better guaranteed when the good and evil conse- 
quences of actions are rationally understood, than 
when they are merely believed on authority. A 
child who finds that disorderliness entails the sub- 
sequent trouble of putting things in order, or who 
misses a gratification from dilatoriness, or whose 
want of care is followed by the loss or breakage of 
some much-prized possession, not onjy experiences 
a keenly -felt consequence, but gains a knowledge 
of causation : both the one and the other being 
just like those which adult life will bring. Where- 
as a child who in such cases receives some repri- 
mand or some factitious penalty, not only expe- 
riences a consequence for which it often cares very 
little, but lacks that instruction resjiecting the es- 
sential natures of good and evil conduct, which it 
would else have gathered. It is a vice of the com- 


men system of artificial rewards aud punishments, 
long since noticed by the clear-sighted, that by sub- 
stituting for the natural results of misbehaviour 
certain threatened tasks or castigations, it produce? 
a radically wrong standard of moral guidance. 
Having throughout uifancy and boyhood alwa^'g 
regarded parental or tutorial displeasure as the re- 
sult of a forbidden action, the youth has gained an 
established association of ideas between such action 
and such displeasure, as cause and effect ; and con- 
sequently when parents and tutors have abdicated* 
and their displeasure is not to be feared, the re- 
straint on a forbidden action is in great measure re- 
moved : the true restraints, the natural reactions, 
liaving yet to be learnt by sad experience. A? 
writes one who has had personal knowledge of thie 
shortsighted system : — " Young men let loose from 
school, particularly those whose parents have neg- 
lected to exert their influence, plunge into every 
description of extravagance ; they know no rule 
of action — they are ignorant of the reasons for 
moral conduct — they have no foundation to rest 
upon — and until they have been severely disciplined 
by the world are extremely dangerous members of 

Another great advantage of this natural system 
of discipline is, that it is a system of pure justice; 
and will be recognised by every child as such. 
Whoso suffers nothing more than the evil which 
obviously follows naturally from his own misbe- 
haviour, is much less likely to think himself wrongly 


h eated than if he siiiFers an evil artificially inflicted 
on him ; and this will be true of children as of 
men. Take the case of a boy who is habitually reck- 
less of his clothes — scrambles through hedges with- 
out caution, or is utterly regardless of mud. If he 
is beaten, or sent to bed, he is apt to regard him- 
self as ill-used ; and his mind is more likely to be 
occupied by thinking over his injuries than repent- 
ing of his transgressions. But suppose he is re- 
quired to rectify as far as he can the harm he has 
done — to clean off the mud with wliich he has cov- 
ered himself, or to mend the tear as well as he can. 
Will he not feel that the evil is one of his own pro- 
ducing ? "Will he not while paying this penalty be 
continuously conscious of the connexion between it 
and its cause ? And will he not, spite his irrita- 
tion, recognise more or less clearly tlie justice of the 
arrangement ? If several lessons of this kind fail 
to produce amendment — if suits of clothes are pre- 
maturely spoiled — if pursuing this same system of 
discipline a father declines to spend money for new 
ones until the ordinary time has elapsed — and if 
meanwhile, there occur occasions on Avhich, having 
no decent clothes to go in, the boy is debarred from 
joining the rest of the family on holiday excursions 
and fete days, it is manifest that while he will 
keenly feel the punishment, lie can scarcely fail to 
trace the chain of causation, and to perceive that 
his own carelessness is the origin of it ; and seeing 
this, he will not have that same sense of injustice 


as when there is no obvious connexion between the 
transgression and its penalty. 

Again, the tempers botli of parents and children 
are much less liable to be ruffled under this system 
than under the ordinary system. Instead of letting 
children experience the painful results which natu- 
rally follow from wrong conduct, the usual course 
pursued by parents is to inflict themselves certain 
other painful results. A double mischief arises 
from this. Making, as they do, multiplied family 
laws ; and identifying their own supremacy and dig- 
nity with the maintenance of these laws ; it liap- 
pens that every transgression comes to be regard- 
ed as an oflfence against themselves, and a cause 
of anger on their part. Add to which the further 
irritations which result from taking upon them- 
selves, in the shape of extra labour or cost, those 
evil consequences which should have been allowed 
to fall on the wrong-doers. Similarly with the 
children. Penalties which the necessary reaction of 
things brings round upon them— -penalties which 
are inflicted by impersonal agency, produce an irri- 
tation that is comparatively slight and transient ; 
whereas, penalties which are voluntarily inflicted 
by a parent, and are afterwards remembered as 
caused by him or her, produce an irritation both 
greater and more continued. Just consider how 
disastrous would be the result if this empii-ical 
method were pursued from the beginning. Sup 
pose it were possible for parents to take upon them- 
selves the physical sufferings entailed on their chil- 


dren by ignorance and awkwardness ; and that 
wliile bearing these evil consequences thej visited 
on their children certain other evil consequences, 
with the view of teaching them the impropriety of 
tlieir conduct. Suj^pose that when a child, who 
had been forbidden to meddle with the kettle, spilt 
some boiling water on its foot, the mother vicari- 
ously assumed the scald and gave a blow in place 
of it ; and similarly in all other cases. Would not 
the daily mishaps be sources of far more anger than 
now ? Would there not be chronic ill-temper on 
both sides ? Yet an exactly parallel policy is pur- 
sued in after years. A father who punishes his boy 
for carelessly or wilfully breaking a sister's toy, and 
then himself pays for a new toy, does substantially 
this same thing — inflicts an artiiicial penalty on the 
transgressor, and takes the natural penalty on him- 
self : his own feelings and those of the transgressor 
being alike needlessly irritated. If he simply re- 
quired restitution to be made, he would produce far 
less heartburning. If he told the boy that a new 
toy must be bought at his, the boy's, cost, and that 
his supply of pocket-money must be withheld to 
the needful extent, there would be much less cause 
for ebullition of temper on either side ; while in the 
deprivation afterwards felt, the boy would expe- 
rience the equitable and salutary consequence. In 
brief, the system of discipline by natural reactions 
is less injurious to temper, alike because it is per- 
ceived on both sides to be nothing more than pure 
justice, and because it more or less substitutes the 


impersonal agency of nature for tlie personal agency 
of parents. 

Whence also follows the manifest corollary, that 
r.nder this system the parental and lilial relation 
will be a more friendly, and therefore a more in- 
fluential one. "Whether in parent or child, anger, 
however caused, and to whomsoever directed, is 
more or less detrimental. But anger in a parent 
towards a child, and in a child towards a parent, is 
especially detrimental ; because it weakens that 
bond of sympathy which is essential to a benefi- 
cent control. In virtue of the general law of asso- 
ciation of ideas, it inevitably results, both in young 
and old, that dislike is contracted towards things 
which in our experience are habitually connected 
with disagreeable feelings. Or where attachment 
originally existed, it is weakened, or destroyed, or 
turned into repugnance, according to the quantity 
of painful impressions received. Parental wi-ath, 
with its accompanying reprimands and castigations, 
cannot fail, if often repeated, to produce filial alien- 
ation ; while the resentment and sulkiness of chil- 
dren cannot fail to weaken the afiection felt for 
them, and may even end in destroying it. Hence 
the numerous cases in which parents (and especially 
fathers, who are commonly deputed to express the 
anger and inflict the punishment) are regarded with 
indifl'erence, if not with aversion ; and hence the 
equally numerous cases in which children are looked 
upon as inflictions. Seeing, then, as all must do, 
Uiat estrangement of this kind is fatal to a sulutary 


moral culture, it follows that parents cannot be too 
solicitous in avoiding occasions of direct antagon- 
ism with their children — occasions of personal re- 
sentment. And therefore they cannot too anxiously 
avail themselves of this discipline of natural conse- 
quences — this system of letting the penalty be iii- 
flicted by the laws of things ; which, by saving the 
parent from the function of a penal agent, prevents 
these mutual exasperations and estrangements. 

Thus we see that this method of moral culture 
by experience of the normal reactions, which is the 
divinely-ordained method alike for infancy and for 
adult life, is equally applicable during the inter- 
mediate childliood and youth. And among the ad- 
vantages of this method we see — First. Tliat it 
gives that rational comprehension of right and 
wrong conduct which results from actual experience 
of the good and bad consequences caused by them. 
Second. That the child, suffering nothing more 
than the painful effects brought upon it by its own 
wrong actions, must recognise more or less clearly 
the justice of the penalties. Third. That, recog- 
nising the justice of the penalties, and receiving 
those penalties through the working of things, 
rather than at the hands of an individual, its temper 
will be less disturbed ; while the parent occupying 
the comparatively passive position of taking care 
that the natural penalties are felt, will preserve a 
comparative equanimity. And Fourth. That mu- 
tual exasperation being thus in great measure pre- 
vented, a much happier, and a more influential 


state of feeling, will exist between parent and 

" But what is to be done with more serious mis- 
conduct ? " some will ask. " How is this plan to be 
carried out when a petty theft has been committed ? 
or when a lie has been told ? or when some younger 
brother or sister has been ill-used ? " 

Before replying to these questions, let us con- 
sider the bearings of a few illustrative facts. 

Living in the family of his brother-in-law, a 
friend of ours had undertaken the education of his 
little nephew and niece. This he had conducted, 
more perhaps from natural sympathy than from 
reasoned-out conclusions, in the spirit of the method 
above set forth. The two children were in doors 
his pupils and out of doors his companions. They 
daily joined him in walks and botanizing excur- 
sions, eagerly sought out plants for him, looked on 
while he examined and identified them, and in this 
and other ways were ever gaining both pleasure and 
instruction in his society. In short, morally con- 
sidered, he stood to them much more in the position 
of parent than either their father or mother did. 
Describing to us the results of this policy, he gave, 
among other instances, the following. One even- 
ing, having need for some article lying in another 
part of the house, he asked his nephew to fetch it 
for him. Deeply interested as the boy was in some 
amusement of the moment, he, contrary to his 
wont, either exhibited great reluctance or refused, 


we forget which. His uncle, disapproving of a 
coercive course fetched it himself ; merely exhibit- 
ing by his manner the annoyance this ill-behaviour 
gave him. And when, later in the evening, the 
boy made overtures for the usual play, they were 
gravely repelled — the uncle manifested just that 
coldness of feeling naturally produced in hijn, and 
so let the boy experience the necessary consequences 
of his conduct. Next morning at the usual time 
for rising, our friend heard a new voice outside the 
door, and in walked his little nephew with the hot 
water ; and then the boy, peering about the room 
to see what else could be done, exclaimed, " Oh ! 
you want your boots," and forthwith rushed down 
stairs to fetch them. In this and other ways he 
showed a true penitence for his misconduct ; he en- 
deavoured by unusual services to make up for the 
service he had refused ; his higher feelings had of 
themselves conquered his lower ones, and acquired 
strength by the conquest ; and he valued more than 
before the friendship he thus regained. 

This gentleman is now himself a father ; acts on 
the same system ; and finds it answer completely. 
He makes himself thoroughly his children's friend. 
The evening is longed for by them because he will 
be at home ; and they especially enjoy the Sunday 
because he is with them all day. Thus possessing 
their perfect confidence and afiection, he finds that 
the simple display of his approbation or disapproba- 
tion gives him abundant power of control. If, on 
his return home, he hears that one of his boys has 


been naughty, lie behaves towards liira with that 
comparative coldness which the consciousness of the 
boy's misconduct naturally produces ; and he finds 
this a most efficient punishment. The mere with- 
holding of the usual caresses, is a source of the 
keenest distress — produces a much more prolonged 
fit of crying than a beating would do. And the 
dread of this purely moral penalty is, he says, ever 
present during his absence : so much so, that fre- 
quently during the day his children inquire of their 
mamma how they have behaved, and whether the 
report will be good. Recently, the eldest, an ac- 
tive urchin of five, in one of those bursts of animal 
spirits common in healthy children, committed sun- 
dry extravagances during his mamma s absence — 
cut off" part of his brother's hair and wounded him- 
self with a razor taken from his father's dressing- 
case. Hearing of these occurrences on his return, 
the father did not speak to the boy either that 
night or next morning. Not only was the tribula- 
tion great, but the subsequent eff'ect was, that when, 
a few days after, the mamma was about to go out, 
she was earnestly entreated by the boy not to do 
60 ; and on inquiry, it appeared his fear was that 
he might again transgress in her absence. 

We have introduced these facts before replying 
to the question — " What is to be done with the 
graver offences ? "for the purpose of first exhibiting 
the relation that may and ought to be established 
between parents and children ; for on the existence 
of this relation depends the successful treatment of 


these graver offences. And as a further prelimi* 
nary, we must now point out that the establisliment 
of this relation will result from adopting the sys- 
tem we advocate. Already we have shown that 
by letting a child experience simply the painful 
reactions of its own wrong actions, a parent in great 
measure avoids assuming the attitude of an enemy, 
and escapes being regarded as one ; but it still re- 
mains to be shown that where this course has been 
consistently pursued from the beginning, a strong 
feeling of active friendship will be generated. 

At present, mothers and fathers are mostly con- 
sidered by their offspring as friend -enemies. De- 
termined as their impressions inevitably are by the 
treatment they receive ; and oscillating as that 
treatment does between bribery and thwarting, be- 
tween petting and scolding, between gentleness and 
castigation ; children necessarily acquire contlicting 
beliefs respecting the parental character. A mother 
commonly thinks it quite sufficient to tell her little 
boy that she is his best friend ; and assuming that 
he is in duty bound to believe her, concludes that 
he will forthwith do so. " It is all for your good ; " 
" I know what is proper for you better than you do 
yourself ; " " You are not old enough to understand 
it now, but when you grow up you will thank, 
rae for doing what I do ; " — these, and like asser- 
tions, are daily reiterated. Meanwhile the boy is 
daily suffering positive penalties ; and is hourly 
forbidden to do this, that, and the other, which he 
was anxious to do. By words he hears that his 


happiness is the end in view ; but from tlie accom^ 
panying deeds lie habitually receives more or less 
pain. Utterly incompetent as he is to understand 
that future which his mother has in view, or how 
this treatment conduces to the happiness of that fu- 
ture, he judges by such results as he feels ; and 
finding these results any thing but pleasurable, he 
becomes sceptical respecting these professions of 
friendship. And is it not folly to expect any other 
issue ? Must not the child judge by such evidence 
as lie has got ? and does not this evidence seem to 
warrant his conclusion ? The mother would reason 
in just the same way if similarly placed. If, in the 
circle of her acquaintance, she found some one who 
was constantly thwarting her wishes, uttering sharp 
reprimands, and occasionally inflicting actual pen- 
alties on her, she would pay but little attention to 
any professions of anxiety for her welfare which 
accompanied these acts. Why, then, does she sup- 
pose that her boy will conclude otherwise ? 

But now observe how diiferent will be the re- 
sults if the system we contend for be consistently 
pursued — if the mother not only avoids becoming 
the instrument of punishment, but plays tlie part 
of a friend, by warning her boy of the punishments 
which Is'ature will inflict. Take a case ; and that 
it may illustrate the mode in which this policy is 
to be early initiated, let it be one of the simplest 
cases. Suppose that, prompted b}^ the experi- 
mental spirit so conspicuous in children, whose 
proceedings instinctively conform to the inductive 


method of inquiry — suppose that so prompted the 
child is amusing himself by lighting pieces of pa- 
per in the candle and watching them burn. If his 
mother is of the ordinary uureflective stamp, she 
will either, on the plea of keeping the child " out 
of mischief," or from fear that he will burn himself, 
command him to desist ; and in case of non-com- 
pliance will snatch the paper from him. On the 
other hand, should he be so fortunate as to have a 
mother of sufficient rationality, who knows that 
this interest with which the child is watching the 
paper burn results fi-om a healthy inquisitiv^eness, 
without which he woiild never have emerged out 
of infantine stupidity, and who is also wise enough 
to consider the moral results of interference, she 
will reason thus : — " If I put a stop to this I shall 
prevent the acquirement of a certain amount of 
knowledge. It is true that I may save the child 
from a burn ; but what then? He is sure to burn 
himself sometime ; and it is quite essential to his 
safety in life that he should learn by experience the 
properties of flame. Moreover, if I forbid him 
from running this present risk, he is sure hereafter 
to run the same or a greater risk when no one is 
present to prevent hira ; whereas, if he should have 
any accident now that I am by, I can save him 
from any great injury; add to which the advan- 
tage that he will have in future some dread of fire, 
and will be less likely to burn himself to death, or 
set the house in a flame when others are absent. 
Furthermore, were I to make him desist, I should 


thwart him in the pursuit of what is in itself a 
purely harmless, and indeed, instructive gratifica- 
tion ; and he would be sure to regard me with 
more or less ill-feelh)g. Ignorant as lie is of the 
pain from which I would save him, and feeling 
only the pain of a balked desire, he could not fail 
to look upon me as the cause of that pain. To save 
liim from a hurt which he cannot conceive, and 
which has therefore no existence for him, I inflict 
upon him a hurt wdiich he feels keenly enough ; 
and so become, from his point of view, a minister 
of evil. My best course then, is simply to warn 
him of the danger, and to be ready to prevent any 
serious damage." And following out this conclu- 
sion, she says to the child — " I fear you -will hurt 
yourself if you do that." Suppose, now, that the 
child perseveres, as he will very probably do ; and 
suppose that he ends by burning himself. What 
are the results ? In the first place he has gained 
an experience which he must gain eventually, and 
which, for his own safety he cannot gain too soon. 
And in the second place, he has found that his 
mother's disapproval or warning was meant for his 
welfare : he has a further positive experience of her 
benevolence — a further reason for placing confi- 
dence in her judgment and her kindness — a further 
reason for loving her. 

Of course, in those occasional hazards where 
there is a risk of broken limbs or other serious 
bodily injury, forcible prevention is called for. 
But leaving out these exireme cases, the system 


pursaed should be not that of guarding a child 
ngainst the small dangers into which it daily runs, 
but tliat of advising and warning it against them. 
And by consistently pursuing this course, a much 
stronger filial affection will be generated than com- 
monly exists. If here, as elsewhere, the discipline 
of the natural reactions. is allowed to come into 
play — if in all those out-of-door scramblings and 
in-door experiments, by which children are liable 
to hurt themselves, they are allowed to persevere, 
subject only to dissuasion more or less earnest ac- 
cording to the risk, there cannot fail to arise an 
ever-increasing faith in the parental friendship and 
guidance. Not only, as before shown, does the 
adoption of this principle enable fathers and moth- 
ers to avoid the chief part of that odium which at- 
taches to the infliction of positive punishment; but, 
as we here see, it enables them further to avoid the 
odium that attaches to constant thwartings ; and 
even to turn each of those incidents which com- 
monly cause squabbles, into a means of strength- 
ening the mutual -good feeling. Instead of being 
told in words, which deeds seem to contradict, that 
their parents are theii best friends, children will 
learn this truth by a consistent dail}; experience ; 
and so learning it, will acquire a degree of trust 
and attachment which nothing else can give. 

And now having indicated the much more sym- 
pathetic relation which must result from the habit- 
ual use of this method, let us return to the quea- 


tion above put — IIow is this method to be applied 
to the graver otfences ? 

Xote, in the first ph\ce, tliat these graver of- 
fences are likely to be both less frequent and less 
grave under the regimewQ have described than un- 
der the ordinary regime. The perpetual ill-behav- 
iour of many children is itself the consequence of 
that chronic irritation in which they are kept by 
bad management. The state of isolation and an- 
tagonism produced by frequent punishment, neces- 
sarily deadens the sympathies ; necessarily, there- 
fore, opens the way to those transgressions which 
the sympathies should check. That harsh treat- 
ment which children of the same family inflict on 
each other is often, in great measure, a reflex of the 
harsh treatment they receive from adults — partly 
suggested by direct example, and parth' generated 
by the ill-temper and the tendency to vicarious re- 
taliation, which follow chastisements and scoldinocs. 
It cannot be questioned that the greater activity oi 
the affections and happier state of feeling, main- 
tained in children by the discipline we have de- 
scribed, must prevent their sins against each other 
from being either so great or so frequent. More- 
over, the sti^l more reprehensible oflfences, as lies 
and petty thefts, will, by the same causes, be di- 
minished. Domestic estrangement is a fruitful 
source of such transgressions. It is a law of human 
nature, visible enough to all who observe, that 
those who are debarred the higher gratiflcations 
fall back upon the lower ; those who have no sym- 


pathetic pleasures seek selfish ones ; and hence, 
conversely, the maintenance of happier relations 
between parents and children is calculated to di- 
minish the number of those offences of which self- 
ishness is the origin. 

AVhen, however, such offences are committed, 
as they will occasionally be even under the best 
system, the discipline of consequences may still be 
resorted to ; and if there exist that bond of confi- 
dence and affection which we have described, this 
discipline will be found efficient. For what are 
the natural consequences, say, of a theft? They 
are of two kinds — direct and indirect. The direct 
consequence, as dictated by pure equity, is that of 
making restitution. An absolutely just ruler (and 
every parent should aim to be one) will demand 
that, wherever it is possible, a wu'ong act shall be 
undone by a right one : and in the case of theft 
this implies either the restoration of the thing 
stolen, or, if it is consumed, then the giving of an 
equivalent : which, in the case of a child, may be 
effected out of its pocket-money. The indirect and 
more serious consequence is the grave displeasure 
of parents — a consequence which inevitably follows 
among all peoples sufficiently civilized to regard 
theft as a crime ; and the manifestation of this dis- 
pleasure is, in this instance, the most severe of the 
natural reactions produced by the wrong action. 
" But," it will be said, " the m.anifestation of parental 
displeasure, either in words or blows, is the ordi- 
nary course in these cases : the method leads here 


to nothing new." Yeiy true. Already we have 
admitted that, in some directions, this method is 
spontaneously jDursued. Already we have shown 
that there is a more or less manifest tendency for 
educational systems to gravitate towards the true 
system. And here we may remark, as before, that 
the intensity of this natural reaction will, in the 
beneficent order of things, adjust itself to the re- 
quirements — that this parental displeasure will 
vent itself in violent measures during compara- 
tively barbarous times, when the children are also 
comparatively barbarous; and will express itself 
less cruelly in those more advanced social states in 
which, by implication, the children are amenable 
to milder treatment. But what it chiefly concerns 
us here to observe is, that the manifestation of 
strong parental displeasure, produced by one of 
these graver oflPences, will be potent for good just 
in proportion to the warmth of the attachment ex- 
isting between parent and child. Just in propor- 
tion as the discipline of the natural consequences 
has been consistently pursued in other cases, will 
it be eificient in this case. Proof is within the ex- 
perience of all, if they will look for it. 

For does not every man know that when he has 
offended another person, the amount of genuine re- 
gret he feels (of course, leaving worldly considera- 
tions out of the question) varies with the degree of 
sympathy he has for that person ? Is he not con- 
Bcious that when the person offended stands to him 
in the position of an enemy, the having given him 



annoyance is apt to be a source ratlier of secret 
satisfaction than of sorrow ? Does he not remem- 
ber that where nrabrage has been taken by some 
total stranger, he has felt much less concern than 
he would have done had such umbrage been taken 
by one with whom he was intimate ? While, con- 
versely, has not the anger of an admired and cher- 
ished friend been regarded by him as a serious 
misfortune, long and keenly regretted? Clearly, 
then, the effects of parental displeasure upon chil- 
dren must similarly depend upon the pre-existing 
relationship. Where there is an established alien- 
ation, the feeling of a child who has transgressed 
is a purely selfish fear of the evil consequences 
likely to fall upon it in the shape of physical pen- 
alties or deprivations ; and after these evil conse* 
quences have been inflicted, there are aroused an 
antagonism and dislike which are morally inju- 
rious, and tend further to increase the alienation. 
On the contrary, where there exists a warm filial af- 
fection produced by a consistent parental friendship 
— a friendship not dogmatically asserted as an excuse 
for punishments and denials, but daily exhibited in 
ways that a child can comprehend — a friendship 
which avoids needless thwartings, which warns 
against impending evil consequences, and which 
sympathizes with juvenile pursuits — there the state 
of mind caused by parental displeasure will not 
only be salutary as a check to future misconduct 
of like kind, but will also be intrinsically salutar}'. 
The moral pain consequent upon having, for the 


time "being, lost so loved a friend, will stand in 
place of the physical pain usually inflicted ; and 
■•,vhere this attachment exists, will prove equally, if 
not more, eflficient. While instead of the fear and 
vindictiveness excited by the one course, there will 
be excited by the other more or less of sym]:»athy 
with parental sorrow, a genuine regret for having 
caused it, and a desire, by some atonement, to re- 
establish the habitual friendly relationship. In- 
stead of bringing into play those purely egoistic 
feelings whose predominance is the cause of crimi- 
nal acts, there will be brought into play those altru- 
istic feelings which check criminal acts. Thus the 
discipline of the natural consequences is applicable 
to grave as well as trivial faults ; and the practice 
of it conduces not simply to the repression, but to 
the eradication of such faults. 

In brief, the truth is that savageness begets 
savageness, and gentleness begets gentleness. Chil- 
dren who are unsympathetically treated become 
relatively unsympathetic; whereas treating them 
with due fellow-feeling is a means of cultivating 
their fellow-feeling. "With family governments as 
with political ones, a harsh despotism itself gene- 
rates a great part of the crimes it has to repress ; 
while conversely a mild and liberal rule not only 
avoids many causes of dissension, but so amelio- 
rates the tone of feeling as to diminish the ten- 
dency to transgression. As John Locke long since 
remarked, " Great severity of punishment does but 
very little good, nay, great harm, in education \ 


and I believe it will be found that, cwteris paribus^ 
those children who have been most chastised sel- 
dom make the best men." In confirmation of whicli 
opinion we may cite the fact not long since made 
public by Mr, Kogers, Chaplain of the Pentonville 
Prison, that those juvenile criminals who have 
been whipped are those who most frequently return 
to prison. On the other hand, as exhibiting the 
beneficial efi'ects of a kinder treatment, Ave will in- 
stance the fact stated to us by a French lady, in 
whose house we recently staid in Paris. Apologiz- 
ing for the disturbance daily caused by a little boy 
who was unmanageable both at home and at school, 
she expressed her fear that there was no remedy 
save that which had succeeded in the case of an 
elder brother ; namely, sending him to an English 
school. She explained that at various schools in 
Paris this elder brother had proved utterly untract- 
able ; that in despair they had followed the advice 
to send him to England ; and that on his return 
home he was as good as he had before been bad. 
And this remarkable change she ascribed entirely 
to the comparative mildness of the English disci- 

After this exposition of principles, our remaining 
space may best be occupied by a few of the chief 
maxims and rules deducible from them; and with 
a view to brevity we will put these in a more or 
less hortatory form. 

Do not expect from a child any great amount of 
moral goodness. During early years every civil- 


ized man passes through that phase of character 
exhibited by the barbarous race t'roin uhich he is 
descended. As the child's features — flat nose, for- 
ward-opening nostrils, large lips, wide-apart eyes, 
absent frontal sinus, &c. — resemble for a time those 
of the savage, so, too, do his instincts. Hence the 
tendencies to cruelty, to thieving, to lying, so gen- 
eral among children — tendencies which, even with- 
out the aid of discipline, will become more or less 
modified just as the features do. The popular idea 
that children are " innocent," while it may be true 
in so far as it refers to evil hioivledge, is totally 
false in so far as it refers to evil impulses, as half 
an hour's observation in the nursery will prove to 
any one. Boys when left to themselves, as at a 
public school, treat each other far more brutally 
than men do ; and were they left to themselves at 
an earlier age their brutality would be still more 

Not only is it unwise to set up a high standard 
for juvenile good conduct, but it is even unwise to 
use very urgent incitements to such good conduct. 
Already most people recognise the detrimental re- 
sults of intellectual precocity ; but there remains 
to be recognised the truth that there is a moral 
precocity which is also detrimental. Our higher 
moral faculties, like our higher intellectual ones, 
are comparatively complex. By consequence they 
arc both comparatively late in their evolution. 
And with the one as with the other, a very early 
activity produced by stimulation will be at the ex- 


pense of the fatnre cliaracter. Hence the not nn- 
common fact that those who during chiklhood were 
instanced as models of juvenile goodness, by-and-by 
undergo some disastrous and seemingly inexplica- 
ble change, and end by being not above but below 
par ; while relatively exemplary men are often the 
issue of a childhood by no means so promising. 

Be content, therefore, with moderate measures 
and moderate results. Constantly bear in mind 
the fact that a higher morality, like a higher intelli- 
gence, must be reached by a slow growth ; and 
you will then have more patience with those imper- 
fections of nature which your child hourly displays. 
You will be less prone to that constant scolding, 
and threatening, and forbidding, by which many 
parents induce a chronic domestic irritation, in the 
foolish hope that they will thus make their chil- 
dren what they should be. 

This comparatively liberal form of domestic 
government, which does not seek despotically to 
regulate all the details of a child's conduct, neces- 
sarily results from the system for which we have 
been contending. Satisfy yourself with seeing that 
your child always suffers the natural consequences 
of his actions, and you will avoid that excess of 
control in which so many parents err. Leave him 
wherever you can to the discipline of experience, 
and you will so save him from that hothouse virtue 
which over-regulation produces in yielding natures, 
or that demoralizing antagonism which it produces 
in independent ones, 


By aiming in all cases to administer tlie natuial 
reactions to your child's actions, you will put an 
advantageous check upon your own temper. The 
method of moral education pursued by many, we 
fear by most, parents, is little else than that of 
venting their anger in the way that first suggests 
itself. The slaps, and rough shakings, and sharp 
words, with which a mother commonly visits her 
oflspring's small offences (many of them not of- 
fences considered intrinsically), are ver}^ generally 
but the manifestations of her own ili-controlled 
feelings — result much more from the promptings of 
those feelings than from a wish to benefit the 
oftenders. While they are injurious to her own 
character, these ebullitions tend, b}' alienating her 
children and by decreasing their respect for her, to 
diminish her influence over them. But by pausing 
in each case of transgression to consider what is 
the natural consequence, and how that natural con- 
sequence may best be brought home to the trans- 
gressor, some little time is necessarily'- obtained for 
the mastery of yourself; the mere blind anger first 
aroused in you settles down into a less vehement 
feeling, and one not so likely to mislead you. 

Do not, however, seek to behave as an utterly 
passionless instrument. Remember that besides 
the natural consequences of your child's conduct 
which the woi'king of things tends to bring round 
on him, your own approbation or disapprobation is 
also a natural consequence, and one of the ordained 
agencies for guidino: him. The error which w© 


have been combating is that of siLbstituting parental 
displeasure and its «,rtiliciul penalties, for the pen- 
alties which nature has established. But while it 
should not be substituted for these natural penalties, 
it by no means follows that it should not, in some 
form, accompany them. The secondary kind of 
punishment should not usurp the place of the 
primary kind ; but, in moderation, it may rightly 
supplement the primary kind. Such amount of dis- 
approval, or sorrow, or indignation, as you feel, 
should be expressed in words or manner or other- 
wise ; subject, of course, to the approval of your 
judgment. The degree and kind of feeling jjro- 
duced in you will necessarily depend upon your 
own character, and it is therefore useless to say it 
should be this or that. All that can be recom- 
mended is, that you should aim to modify the feel- 
ing into that which vou believe ought to be enter- 
tained. Beware, however, of the two extremes; 
not only in respect of the intensity, but in respect 
of the duration of your displeasure. On the one 
hand, anxiously avoid that weak impulsiveness, so 
general among mothers, which scolds and forgives 
almost in the same breath. On the other hand, do 
not unduly continue to show estrangement of feel- 
ing, lest you accustom your child to do without 
your friendship, and so lose your influence over 
him. The moral reactions called forth from you by 
your child's actions, you should as much as possi- 
ble assimilate to those which you conceive would 
be called forth from a parent of perfect nature. 


Be sparing of commands. Command only in 
tliose cases in wliicli other means are inai^itlicable, 
or have failed. " In frequent orders the parents' 
advantage is more considered than the child's," 
says Richter. As in primitive societies a breach 
of law is punished, not so much because it is in- 
trinsically wrong as because it is a disregard of the 
king's authority — a rebellion against him ; so in 
many families, the penalty visited on a transgressor 
proceeds less from reprobation of the offence than 
from anger at the disobedience. Listen to the ordi- 
nary speeches — " How dare you disobey me? " " I 
tell you I'll make you do it, sir." " I'll soon teach 
you who is master " — and then consider what the 
words, the tone, and the manner imply. A deter- 
mination to subjugate is much more conspicuous in 
them than an anxiety for the cliild's welfare. For 
the time being the attitude of mind differs but little 
from that of the despot bent on punishing a recalci- 
trant subject. The right-feeling parent, however, 
like the philanthropic legislator, will not rejoice in 
coercion, but will rejoice in dispensing with coercion, 
lie will do without law in all cases where other 
modes of regulating conduct can be successfully em- 
])loyed ; and he will regret the having recourse to 
law when it is necessary. As Richter remarks — 
"The best rule in politics is said to be '';pas trop 
ijouverner : '' it is also true in education." And in 
spontaneous conformity with this maxim, parents 
whose lust of dominion is restrained by a true sense 
of duty, will aim to make their children control 


themselves wherever it is possible, and will fall back 
upon absolutism only as a last resort. 

But whenever you do command, command with 
decision and consistency. If the case is one which 
really cannot be otherwise dealt with, then issue 
your fiat, and having issued it, never afterwards 
swerve from it. Consider well beforehand what 
you are going to do ; weigh all the consequences ; 
think whether your firmness of purpose will be 
sufficient ; and then, if you finally make the law, 
enforce it uniformly at whatever cost. Let your 
penalties be like the penalties inflicted by inani- 
mate nature — inevitable. The hot cinder burns a 
child the first time he seizes it ; it burns him the 
second time ; it burns him the third time ; it burns 
him every time ; and he very soon learns not to 
touch the hot cinder. If you are equally consist- 
ent — if the consequences which you tell your child 
will follow certain acts, follow with like uniformity, 
he .will soon come to respect your laws as he does 
those of Nature. And this respect once established 
will prevent endless domestic evils. Of errors in 
education one of the worst is that of inconsistency. 
As in a community, crimes multiply when there is 
no certain administration of justice ; so in a fami- 
ly, an immense increase of transgressions results 
from a hesitating or irregular infliction of penal- 
ties. A weak mother, who perpetually threatens 
and rarely performs — who makes rules in haste and 
repents of them at leisure — who treats the same 
oifence now with severity and now with leniency, 


according as the passing humour dictates, is laying 
lip miseries both for herself and her children. She 
is making herself contemptible- in their eyes ; she 
is setting them an example of uncontrolled feel- 
ings ; she is encouraging tiiem to transgress by the 
prospect of probable impunity ; she is entailing 
endless squabbles and accompanying damage to 
her own temper and the tempers of her little ones ; 
she is reducing their minds to a moral chaos, which 
after-years of bitter experience will with difficulty 
bring into order. Better even a barbarous form of 
domestic government carried out consistently, than 
a humane one inconsistently carried out. Again 
we say, avoid coercive measures wdienever it is 
possible to do so ; but when you find despotism 
really necessary, be despotic in good earnest. 

Bear constantly in mind the truth that the aim 
of your discipline should be to produce a self-gov- 
erning being ; not to produce a being to be gov- 
erned Jjy others. Were your children fated to pass 
their lives as slaves, you could not too much accus- 
tom them to slavery during their childhood ; but 
as they are bj^-and-by to be free men, with no one 
to control their daily conduct, you cannot too much 
accustom them to self-control while they are still 
under your eye. This it is which makes the sys- 
tem of discipline by natural consequences, so espe- 
cially appropriate to the social state which we in 
England have now reached. Under early, tyran- 
nical forms of society, when one of the chief evils 
the citizen had to fear was the anger of his supc 


riors, it "was well that during cliildhood parental 
vengeance should be a predominant means of gov- 
ernment. But now that the citizen has little to 
fear from any one — now that the good or evil which 
he experiences throughout life is mainly that which 
in the nature of things results from his own con- 
duct, it is desirable that from his first years he 
should begin to learn, experimentally, the good or 
evil consequences which naturally follow this or 
that conduct. Aim, therefore, to diminish the 
amount of parental government as fast as you can 
substitute for it in your child's mind that self-gov- 
ernment arising from a foresight of results. In in- 
fancy a considerable amount of absolutism is ne- 
cessary. A three-year old urchin playing with an 
open razor, cannot be allowed to learn by thib dis- 
cipline of consequences ; for the consequences may, 
in such a case, be too serious. But as intelligence 
increases, the number of instances calling for per- 
emptory interference may be, and should be, di- 
minished ; with the view of gradually ending them 
as maturity is approached. All periods of transi- 
tion are dangerous ; and the most dangerous is the 
transition from the restraint of the family circle to 
the non-restraint of the world. Hence the impor 
tance of pursuing the policy we advocate ; which, 
alike by cultivating a child's faculty of self-restraint, 
by continually increasing the degree in which it ia 
left to its self-constraint, and by so bringing it, step 
by step, to a state of unaided self-restraint, obliter- 
ates the ordinary sudden and hazardous change. 


from externally-governed youth to internall^'-gov- 
erned maturity. Let the history of your domestic 
rule typity, in little, the history of our political 
rule : at the outset, autocratic control, where con- 
trol is really needful ; by-and-by an incipient con- 
stitutionalism, in which the liberty of the subject 
gains some express recognition ; successive exten- 
sions of this liberty of the subject ; gradually end- 
ing in parental abdication. 

Do not regret the exhibition of considerable 
self-will on the part of your children. It is the 
correlative of that diminished coerciveness so con- 
spicuous in modern education. The greater ten- 
dency to assert freedom of action on the one side, 
corresponds to the smaller tendency to tyrannize on 
the other. They both indicate an approach to the 
system of discipline we contend for, under which 
children will be more and more led to rule them- 
selves by the experience of natural consequences ; 
and they are both the accompaniments of our moi-e 
advanced social state. The independent English 
boy is the father of the independent English man ; 
and you cannot have the last without the first. 
German teachers say that they had rather manage 
a dozen German boys than one English one. Shall 
\ve, therefore, wish that our boys had the managea- 
bleness of the German ones, and with it the sub- 
missiveness and political serfdom of adult Ger- 
mans? Or shall we not rather tolerate in our boys 
those feelings which nuike them free men, and 
modify our methods accordingly? 


Lastly, always remember that to educate rightly 
is not a simple and easy thing, bnt a complex and 
extremely difficult thing : the hardest task which 
devolves upon adult life. The rough and ready 
style of domestic government is indeed practicable 
by the meanest and most uncultivated intellects. 
Slaps and sharp words are penalties that suggest 
themselves alike to the least reclaimed barbarian 
and the most stolid peasant. Even brutes can use 
tliis method of discipline; as you may see in the 
growl and half-bite with which a bitch will check 
a too-exigeant puppy. But if you would carry out 
with success a rational and civilized system, you 
must be prepared for considerable mental exertion 
— for some study, some ingenuity, some patience, 
some self-control. You will have habitually to 
trace the consequences of conduct — to consider 
what are the results which in adult life follow 
certain kind of acts ; and then you will have to 
devise methods by which parallel results shall be 
entailed on the parallel acts of your children. 
You will daily be called upon to analyze the mo- 
tives of juvenile conduct: you must distinguish 
between acts that are really good and those which, 
though externally simulating them, proceed from 
inferior impulses ; while you must be ever on your 
guard against the cruel mistake not unfrequently 
made, of translating neutral acts into transgres- 
sions, or ascribing worse feelings than were enter- 
tained. You must more or less modify your method 
to suit the disposition of each child ; and must bo 


prepared to make further modifications as each 
cliikl's disposition enters on a new phase. Your 
faith will often be taxed to maintain the requisite 
perseverance in a course which seems to produce 
little or no effect. Especially if you are dealing 
"with children who have been wrongly treated, you 
must be prepared for a lengthened trial of patience 
before succeeding with better methods ; seeing that 
that which is not easy even where a right state of 
feeling has been established from the beginning, 
becomes doubly difficult when a wrong state of 
feeling has to be set right. Xot only will you have 
constantly to analyze the motives of your children, 
but you will have to analyze your own motives — 
to discriminate between those internal suggestions 
springing from a true parental solicitude, and those 
which spring from your own selfishness, from your 
love of ease, from your lust of dominion. And 
then, more trying still, you will have not only to 
detect, but to curb these baser impulses. In brief, 
you will have to carry on your higher education at 
the same time that you are educating your chil- 
dren. Intellectually you must cultivate to good 
purpose that most complex of subjects — human na- 
ture and its laws, as exhibited in your children, in 
yourself, and in the world. Morally, you must 
keep in constant exercise 3'our higher feelings, and 
restrain your lower. It is a truth yet remaining to 
be recognised, that the last stage in the mental de- 
velopment of each man and woman is to be reached 
only through the proper discharge of the parental 


duties. And when this truth is recognised, it will 
be seen how admirable is the ordination in virtue 
of which human beings are led by their strongest 
affections to subject themselves to a discipline 
which they would else elude. 

While some will probably regard this concep- 
tion of education as it should be, with doubt and 
discouragement, others will, we think, perceive in 
the exalted ideal which it involves, evidence of its 
truth. That it cannot be realized by the impulsive, 
the unsympathetic, and the short-sighted, but de- 
mands the higher attributes of human nature, they 
will see to be evidence of its fitness for the more 
advanced states of humanity. Though it calls for 
much labour and self-sacrifice, they will see that 
it promises an abundant return of liappiness, im- 
mediate and remote. They will see that while in 
its injurious eflects on both parent and child a bad 
system is twice cursed, a good system is twice 
blessed — it blesses him that trains and him that's 

It will be seen that we have said nothing in 
this Chapter about the transcendental distinction 
between right and wrong, of which wise men know 
so little, and children nothing. All thinkers are 
agreed that we may find the criterion of right in 
the effect of actions, if we do not find the rule 
there ; and that is sufficient for the purpose we 
have had in view. Nor have we introduced the 
religious element. We have confined our inquiries 


to a nearer, and a much more neglected field, 
though a very important one. Our readers may 
supplement our thoughts in any way they please ; 
we are only concerned tliat they should be accepted 
as far as they go. 



Equally at the squire's table after the with- 
drawal of the ladies, at the farmers' market-ordi- 
nary, and at the village ale-house, the topic which, 
after the political question of the day, excites per- 
haps the most general interest, is the management 
of animals. Riding home from hunting, the con- 
versation is pretty sure to gravitate towards horse- 
breeding, and pedigrees, and comments on this or 
that ' good point ; ' while a day on the moors is 
very unlikely to pass without something being said 
on the treatment of dogs. When crossing the 
fields together from church, the tenants of adjacent 
farms are apt to pass from criticisms on the ser- 
mon to criticisms on the weather, the crops, and 
the stock ; and thence to slide into discussions on 
the various kinds of fodder and their feeding quali- 
ties. Hodge and Giles, after comparing notes over 
their respective pig-styes, show by their remarks 
that they have been more or less observant of their 
masters' beasts and sheep ; and of the effects pro- 
duced on them by this or that kind of treatment. 
Nor is it only among the rural population that the 
regulations of the kennel, the stable, the cow-shed, 


and tlie slieep-peu, are favourite subjects. In 
towns, too, the numerous artisans wlio keep dogs, 
the young men wlio are rich enough to now and 
then indulge their sporting tendencies, and tlieir 
more staid seniors who talk over agricultural pro- 
gress or read Mr. Mechi's annual reports and Mr. 
Caii'd's letters to the Times^ form, when added to- 
gether, a large portion of the inhabitants. Take 
the adult males throughout the kingdom, and a 
great majority will be found to show some interest 
in the breeding, rearing, or training of animals, of 
one kind or other. 

But, during after-dinner conversations, or at 
other times of like intercourse, who hears anything 
said about the rearing of children ? AVhen the 
country gentleman has paid his daily visit to the 
stable, and personally inspected the condition and 
treatment of his horses ; when he lias glanced at 
his minor live stock, and given directions about 
them; how often does he go up to the nursery and 
examine into its dietary, its hours, its ventilation? 
On his library shelves may be found White's Fai'- 
riery^ Stephen's Booh of the Farin^ Nimrod oii the 
Condition of Hunters ', and with the contents of 
these he is more or less familiar ; but how many 
books has he read on the management of infancy 
and childhood ? The fattening properties of oil- 
cake, the relative values of hay and chopped straw, 
the dangers of unlimited clover, are points on 
which ever}' landlord, farmer, and peasant has 
Bome knowledge ; but what proportion of them 


know much about tlic qualities of the food they 
give tlieir children, and its fitness to the constitu- 
tional needs of growing boys and girls ? Perhaps 
the business interests of these classes will be as- 
signed as accounting for this anomaly. The explana- 
tion is inadequate, however ; seeing that the same 
contrast holds more or less among other classes. 
Of a score of townspeople few, if any, would 
prove ignorant of the fact that it is undesirable to 
work a liorse soon after it has eaten ; and yet, of 
this same score, supposing them all to be fathers, 
probably not one would be found who had consid- 
ered whether the time elapsing between his chil- 
dren's dinner and their resumption of lessons was 
sufiicient. Indeed, on cross-examination, nearly 
every man would disclose the latent opinion that 
the regimen of the nursery was no concern of his. 
" Oh, I leave all those things to the women," would 
probably be the reply. And in most cases the tone 
and manner of this reply would convey the impli- 
cation, til at such cares are not consistent with mas- 
culine dignity. 

Consider the fact from any but the conventional 
point of view, and it will seem strange that while 
the raising of first-rate bullocks is an occupation 
on which men of education willingly bestow much 
time, inquir}'-, and thought, the bringing up of fine 
human beings is an occupation tacitly voted un- 
worthy of their attention. Mammas M'ho have 
been taught little but languages, music, and accom- 
plishments, aided by nurses full of antiquated pre- 

222 nirsicAL education. 

judices, are held competent regulators of the food, 
clothing, and exercise of children. Meanwhile tlie 
fathers read books and periodicals, attend agricul- 
tural meetings, try experiments, and engage in dis- 
cussions, all with the view of discovering how to 
fatten prize pigs ! Infinite pains will be taken to 
produce a racer that shall win the Derby : none to 
produce a modern athlete. Had Gulliver narrated 
of the Laputans that the men vied with each other 
in learning how best to rear the otFspring of other 
creatures, and were careless of learning how best 
to rear their own offspring, he would have paral- 
leled any of the other absurdities he ascribes to 

The matter is a serious one, however. Ludi- 
crous as is the antithesis, the fact it expresses is not 
less disastrous. As remarks a suggestive writer, 
the first requisite to success in life is " to be a good 
animal ;" and to be a nation of good animals is tho 
first condition to national prosperity. Not only is 
it that the event of a war often turns on the strength 
and hardiness of soldiers ; but it is that the con- 
tests of commerce are in part determined by the 
bodily endurance of producers. Thus far we have 
found no reason to fear trials of strength with other 
races in either of these fields. But there are not 
wanting signs that our powers will presently be 
taxed to the uttermost. Already under the keen 
competition of modern life, the application required 
of almost every one is such as few can bear with' 
out more or less injury. Already thousands break 


down under the high pressure they are subject to. 
If this pressure continues to increase, as it seems 
likely to do, it will try severely all but the sound- 
est constitutions. Hence it is becoming of especial 
importance that the training of children should be 
so carried on, as not only to fit them mentally for 
the struggle before them, but also to make them 
physically fit to bear its excessive wear and tear. 

Happily the matter is beginning to attract at- 
tention. The writings of Mr. Kingsley indicate a 
reaction against over-culture ; carried, as reactions 
usually are, somewhat too far. Occasional letters 
and leaders in the newspapers have shown an 
awakening interest in physical training. And the 
formation of a school, significantly nicknamed that 
of " muscular Christianity," implies a growing 
opinion that our present methods of bringing up 
children do not sufliciently regard the welfare of the 
body. The topic is evidently ripe for discussion. 

To conform the regimen of the nursery and the 
school to the established truths of modern science 
— this is the desideratum. It is time that the ben- 
efits which our sheep and oxen have for years past 
derived from the investigations of the laboratory, 
should be participated in by our children. With- 
out calling in question the great importance of 
horse-training and pig-feeding, we would suggest 
that, as the rearing of well-grown men and women 
is also of some moment, the conclusions indicated 
by theory, and endorsed by practice, ought to bo 

acted on in the last case as in the first. Probably 


not a few will be startled — ^perliaps offended — by 
this collocation of ideas. But it is a fact not to be 
disputed, and to which we bad best reconcile our- 
selves, that man is subject to the same organic 
laws as inferior creatures. No anatomist, no phys- 
iologist, no chemist, will for a moment hesitate to 
assert, that the general principles which rule over 
the vital processes in animals equally rule over the 
vital processes in man. And a candid admission 
of this fact is not without its reward : namely, that 
the truths established by observation and experi- 
ment on brutes, become more or less available for 
human guidance. Rudimentary as is the Science 
of Life, it has already attained to certain funda- 
mental principles underlying the development of 
all organisms, the human included. That which 
lias now to be done, and that which we shall en- 
deavour in some measure to do, is to show the 
bearing of these fundamental principles upon the 
physical training of childhood and youth. 

The rhythmical tendency which is traceable in 
all departments of social life — which is illustrated 
in the access of despotism after revolution, or, among 
ourselves, in the alternation of reforming epochs and 
conservative epochs — which, after a dissolute age, 
brings an age of asceticism, and conversely — which, 
in commerce, produces the regularly recurring in- 
flations and panics — which carries the devotees of 
fashion from one absurd extreme to the opposite 
one ; — this rhythmical tendency affects also our 


table-habits, and by implication, the dietary of the 
young. After a period distinguished by hard drink- 
ing and hard eating, has come a period of compara- 
tive sobriety, which, in teetotalism and vegetarian- 
ism, exhibits extreme forms of its protest against the 
riotous living of the past. And along with this 
change in the regimen of adults, has come a paral- 
lel change in the regimen for boys and girls. In 
past generations, the belief was, that the more a 
child could be induced to eat, the better ; and even 
now, among farmers and in remote districts, where 
traditional ideas most linger, parents may be found 
who tempt their children to gorge themselves. But 
among the educated classes, who chiefly display this 
reaction towards abstemiousness, there may be seen 
a decided leaning to the under-feeding, rather than 
the overfeeding, of children. Indeed their disgust 
for bygone animalism, is more clearly shown in the 
treatment of their oftspring than in the treatment 
of themselves ; seeing that while their disguised 
asceticism is, in so far as their personal conduct is 
concerned, kept in check by their appetites, it has 
full play in legislating for juveniles. 

That over-feeding and under-feeding are both 
bad, is a truism. Of the two, however, the last is 
tlie worst. As writes a high authority, '^ the effects 
of casual repletion are less prejudicial, and more 
easily corrected, than those of inanition." * Add 
to which, that where there has been no injudicious 
interference, repletion will seldom occur. " Excess 

* Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine. 

22G ruTSiCAL edlcation. 

is tliG vice rather of adults than of the young, who 
are rarely eitlier gourmands or epicures, unless 
through the fault of those who rear them." * This 
system of restriction which many parents think so 
necessary, is based upon very inadequate observa- 
tion, and very erroneous reasoning. There is an 
over-legislation in the nursery, as well as an over- 
legislation in the State ; and one of the most injuri- 
ous forms of it is this limitation in the quantity of 

" But are children to be allowed to surfeit them- 
selves? Shall they be suffered to take their fill ot 
dainties and make themselves ill, as they certainly 
will do? " As thus put, the question admits of but 
one reply. But as thns put, it assumes the point at 
issue. We contend tliat, as appetite is a good guide 
to all the lower creation — as it is a good guide to 
the infant — as it is a good guide to the invalid — as 
it is a good guide to the differently-placed races of 
men, and as it is a good guide for every adult who 
leads a healthful life ; it may safely be inferred that 
it is a good guide for childhood. It would be 
strange indeed were it here alone untrustworthy. 

Probably not a few will read this reply with 
some impatience ; being able, as they think, to cite 
facts totally at variance with it. It will appear 
absurd if we deny the relevancy of these facts; and 
yet the paradox is quite defensible. The truth is, 
that the instances of excess which such persons 
have in mind, are usually the consequences of tlie 

* Cyclopcedia of Practical Mcdkina. 


restrictive system they seem to justify. They are 
the sensual reactions caused by a more or less asce- 
tic regimen. They illustrate on a small scale that 
commonly remarked fact, that those who during 
youth have been subject to the most rigorous dis- 
cipline, are apt afterwards to rush into the wildest 
extravagances. They are analogous to those fright' 
ful phenomena, once not uncommon in convents, 
where nuns suddenly lapsed from the extremest 
austerities into an almost demoniac wickedness. 
They simply exhibit the uncontrollable vehemence 
of a long-denied desire. Consider the ordinary 
tastes and the ordinary treatment of children. The 
love of sweets is conspicuous and almost universal 
among them. Probably ninety -nine people in a 
hundred, presume that there is nothing more in this 
than gratification of the palate ; and that, in com- 
mon with other sensual desires, it should be dis- 
couraged. The physiologist, however, whose dis- 
coveries lead him to an ever-increasing reverence 
for the arrangements of things, will suspect that 
there is something more in this love of sweets than 
the current hypothesis suj^poses ; and a little in- 
quiry confirms the suspicion. Any work on organic 
chemistry shows that sugar plays an important part 
in the vital processes. Both saccharine and fatty 
matters are eventually oxidized in the body; and 
there is an accompanying evolution of heat. Sugar 
is the form to which sundry other compounds have 
to be reduced before they are available as heat- 
making food ; and XkA'S, formation of sugar is carried 


on in the body. Not only is Htarcli changed into 
sugar in the course of digestion, but it has been 
proved by M. Claude Bernard that the liver is a 
factory in which other constituents of food are trans- 
formed into sugar. Now, when to the fact that 
children have a marked desire for this valuable 
heat-food, we join the fact that they have usually a 
marked dislike to that food which gives out the 
greatest amount of heat during its oxidation (name- 
ly, fat), we shall see strong reason for thinking that 
excess of the one compensates for defect of the other 
— that the organism demands more sugar because 
it cannot deal with much fet. Again, children are 
usually very fond of vegetable acids. Fruits of all 
kinds are their delight ; and, in the absence of any- 
thing better, they will devour unripe gooseberries and 
the sourest of crabs. JSTow, not only are vegetable 
acids, in common with mineral ones, very gooil 
tonics, and beneficial as such when taken in modera- 
tion ; but they have, when administered in their 
natural forms, other advantages. " Kipe fruit," 
says Dr. Andrew Combe, " is more freely given on 
the Continent than in this country ; and, particularly 
when the bowels act imperfectly, it is often very 
useful." See, then, the discord between the instinc- 
tive wants of children and their habitual treatment. 
Here are two dominant desires, which there is good 
reason to believe express certain needs of the juve- 
nile constitution ; and not only are they ignored in 
the nursery regimen, but there is a general ten- 
dency to forbid the gratification of them. Bread' 


and-inilk in the morning, tea and bread-and-butter 
at night, or some dietary equally insipid, is rigidly 
adhered to ; and any ministration to the palate is 
thought not only needless but wrong. What is the 
necessary consequence ? When, on fete-days there 
is an unlimited access to good things — when a gift 
of pocket-money brings the contents of the confec- 
tioner's window within reach, or when by some 
accident the free run of a fruit-garden is obtained ; 
then the long-denied, and therefore intense, desires 
lead to great excesses. There is an impromptu 
carnival, caused not only by the release from past 
restraints, but also by the consciousness that a long 
Lent will begin on the morrow. And then, when 
the evils of repletion display themselves, it is 
argued that children must not be loft to the guid- 
ance of their appetites ! These disastrous results of 
artificial restrictions, are themselves cited as prov- 
ino; the need for further restrictions ! We contend, 
therefore, that the reasoning commonly used to 
justify this system of interference is vicious. We 
contend that, were children allowed daily to par- 
take of these more sapid edibles, for which there is 
a physiological requirement, they would rarely ex- 
ceed, as they now mostly do A'hen they have the 
opportunity : were fruit, as Dr. Combe recommends, 
" to constitute a part of the regular food " (given, as 
he advises, not between meals, but along with 
them), there would be none of that craving which 
prompts the devouring of such fruits as crabs and 
sloes. And similarly in other cases. 


Not only is it that the dj^^'ion reasons for trust- 
ing the appetites of children are so strong ; and 
that the reasons assigned for distrusting them are 
invalid ; but it is that no other guidance is worthy 
of any confidence. What is the value of this pa- 
rental judgment, set up as an alternative regulator? 
When to "Oliver ashing for more," the mamma or 
the governess replies in the negative, on what data 
does she proceed ? She thinks he has had enough. 
But where are her grounds for so thinking? Has 
she some secret understanding with the boy's 
stomach — some clairvoyant power enabling her to 
discern the needs of his body ? If not, how can she 
safely decide ? Does she not know that the demand 
of the system for food is determined by numerous 
and involved causes — varies with the temperature, 
with the hygrometric state of the air, with the elec- 
tric state of the air — varies also according to the 
exercise taken, acccn-ding to the kind and quality of 
food eaten at the last meal, and according to the 
rapidity with which the last meal was digested ? 
How can she calculate the result of such a combina- 
tion of causes ? As we heard said by the father of 
a tive-years-old boy, who stands a head taller than 
most of his age, and is proportionately robust, rosy, 
and active : — " I can see no artificial standard by 
which to mete out his food. If I say, ' this much is 
enough,' it is a mere guess ; and the guess is as like- 
ly to be wrong as riglit. Consequently, having no 
faith in guesses, I let him eat his fill." And cer- 
tainly, any one judging of his policy by its efi'ects, 


would be constrained to admit its wisdom. In truth, 
this confidence, with which most parents take upon 
tliemselves to legislate for the stomachs of their 
children, proves their unacquaintance with the 
principles of physiology : if they knew more, thej 
would he more modest. " The pride of science is 
luimble when compared with the pride of igno- 
rance." If any one would learn how little faith is to 
be placed in human judgments, and how much in 
the pre-established arrangements of things, let him 
compare the rashness of the inexperienced physician 
with the caution of the most advanced ; or let him 
dip into Sir John Forbes' work, On Nature and Art 
in the Cure of Disease ; and he will then see that, 
in proportion as men gain a greater knowledge of 
the laws of life, they come to have less confidence 
in themselves, and more in Nature. 

Turning from the cpiestion oi quantity of food to 
that of quality^ we may discern tlie same ascetic 
tendency. Not simply a more or less restricted 
diet, but a comparatively low diet, is thought 
proper for children. Tlie current opinion is, that 
they should have but little animal food. Among 
the less wealthy classes, economy seems to have 
dictated this opinion — the wish has been father to 
tlie thought. Parents not afibrding to buy much 
meat, and liking meat themselves, answer the peti- 
tions of juveniles with — "Meat is not good for little 
boys and girls ;" and this, at first, probably nothing 
but a convenient excuse, has by repetition grown 
into an article of faith. While the classes with 


Avliom cost is not a consideration, have been swujed 
partly by tlie example of the .majority, partly by 
the influence of nurses drawn from the lower classes, 
and in some measure by the reaction against past 

If, however, we inquire for the basis of this 
opinion, we find little or none. It is a dogma re- 
peated and received without proof, like that which, 
for thousands of years, insisted on the necessity of 
swaddling-clothes. It may indeed be true that, to 
the young child's stomach, not yet endowed with 
much muscular power, meat, which requires con- 
siderable trituration before it can be made into 
chyme, is an unfit aliment. But this objection 
does not tell against animal food from which the 
fibrous part has been extracted ; nor does it apply 
when, after the lapse of two or three years, consid^ 
erable muscular vigour has been acquired. And 
while the evidence in support of this dogma, par- 
tially valid in the case of very young children, is 
not valid in the case of older children, who arC; 
nevertheless, ordinarily treated in conformity with 
the dogma, the adverse evidence is abundant and 
conclusive. The verdict of science is exactly oppo- 
site to the popular opinion. We have put the ques- 
tion to two of our leading physicians, and to sev- 
eral of the most distinguished physiologists, and 
they uniformly agree in the conclusion, that chil- 
dren should have a diet not less nutritive, but, if 
anything, 7nore nutritive than that of adults. 

The grounds for this conclusion are obvious, and 


the reasoning simple. It needs but to compare 
the vital processes of a man with those of a boy, to 
see at once that the demand for sustenance is rela- 
tively greater in the boy than in the man. What 
are the ends for which a man requires food ? Each 
day his body undergoes more or less wear — wear 
through muscular exertion, wear of the nervous 
system through mental actions, wear of the viscera 
in carrying on the functions of life ; and the tissue 
thus wasted has to be renewed. Each day, too, by 
perpetual radiation, his body loses a large amount 
of heat ; and as, for the continuance of the vital 
actions, the temperature of the body must be main- 
tained, tills loss has to be compensated by a con- 
stant production of heat : to which end certain con- 
stituents of the food are unceasingly undergoing 
oxidation. To make up for the day's waste, and to 
supply fuel for the day's expenditure of heat, are, 
then, the sole pui-poses for which the adult requires 
food. Consider, now, the case of the boy. He, 
too, wastes the substance of his body by action ; 
and it needs but to note his restless activity to see 
that, in proportion to his bulk, he probably wastes 
as much as a man. He, too, loses heat by radia- 
tion ; and, as his body exposes a greater surface in 
proportion to its mass than does that of a man, and 
therefore loses heat more rapidly, the quantity of 
heat-food he requires is, bulk for bulk, greater than 
that required by a man. So that even had the boy 
no other vital processes to carry on than the man 
has, he would need, relatively to his size, a some 


wliat larger supply of luitriment. But, besides re- 
pairing his body and maintaining its heat, the boy 
lias to make new tissue — to grow. After waste 
and thermal loss have been provided for, such sur- 
plus of nutriment as remains, goes to the further 
building up of the frame ; and only in virtue of this 
surplus is normal growth possible — the growth that 
sometimes takes place in the absence of such sur- 
plus, causing a manifest prostration consequent up- 
on defective repair. IIow peremptory is the de- 
mand of the unfolding oi'ganism for materials, is 
seen alike in that " school-boy hunger,"- which 
after-life rarely parallels in intensity, and in the 
comparatively quick return of appetite. And if 
there needs further evidence of this extra necessity 
for nutriment, we have it in the fact that, during 
the famines following shipwrecks and other disas- 
ters, the children are the iirst to die. 

This relatively greater need for nutriment be- 
ing admitted, as it must perforce be, the question 
that remains is — shall we meet it by giving an ex- 
cessive cpiantity of what may be called dilute 
food, or a more moderate quantity of concentrated 
food ? The nutriment obtainable from a given 
weight of meat is obtainable only from a larger 
weight of bread, or from a still larger weight of 
potatoes, and so on. To fulfil the requirement, 
the quantity must be increased as the nutritiveness 
is diminished. Shall we, then, respond to the ex- 
tra wants of the growing child by giving an ade- 
quate quantity of food as good as that of adults ? 


Or, regardless of the fact that its stomach has to 
dispose of a relatively larger quantity even of this 
good food, shall we further tax it by giving an in- 
I'erior food in still greater quantity? 

The answer is tolerably obvious. The more 
the labour of digestion can be ecoTiomised, tlie 
more energy is left for the purposes of growth and 
action. The functions of the stomach and intes 
tines cannot be performed without a large supply 
of blood and nervous power ; and in the compara- 
tive lassitude that follows a hearty meal, every 
adult has proof that this supply of blood and nerv- 
ous power is at the expense of the system at large. 
If the requisite nutriment is furnished by a great 
quantity of innutritions food, more work is entailed 
on the viscera than when it is furnished by a 
moderate quantity of nutritious food. This extra 
work is so much sheer loss — a loss which in chil- 
dren shows itself either in diminished energy^ or in 
smaller growth, or in both. The inference is, then, 
that they should have a diet which combines, as 
much as possible, nutritiveness and digestibility. 

It is doubtless true that boys and girls may be 
brought up upon an exclusively, or almost exclu- 
sively, vegetable diet. Among the upper classes 
are to be found children to whom comparatively 
little meat is given; and who, nevertheless, grow 
and appear in good health. Animal food is scarce- 
ly tasted by the offspring of labouring people ; and 
yet they reach a healthy maturity. But these 
Beemingly adverse facts have by no means the 


weight commonly supposed. In the first place, it 
does not follow that those who in early years 
flourish on bread and potatoes, will eventually 
reach a fine development ; and a comparison be- 
tween the agricultural labourers and the gentry, in 
England, or between the middle and lower classes 
in France, is by no means in favour of vegetable 
feeders. In the second place, the question is not 
only a question of hulk^ but also a question of 
quality. A soft, flabl)y flesh makes as good a show 
as a firm one ; but though to the careless eye, a 
child of full, flaccid tissue may apj)ear the equal 
of one whose flbres are well toned, a trial of 
strength will prove the difference. Obesity in adults 
is often a sign of feebleness. Men lose weight in 
training. And lience the appearance of these Iom-- 
fed children is by no means conclusive. In the 
third place, not only size, but energy has to be con- 
sidered. Between children of the meat-eating 
classes and those of the bread-and-potato-eating 
classes, there is a marked contrast in this respect. 
Both in mental and physical vivacity the low-fed 
peasant-boy is greatly inferior to the better-fed son 
of a gentleman. 

If we compare different classes of animals, or 
diflPerent races of men, or the same animals or men 
when differently fed, we find still more distinct 
proof that the degree of energy essentlalhj depends 
on the nutritiveness of the food. 

In a cow, subsisting on so innutritive a food as 
grass, we see that the immense quantity required 


to he eaten necessitates an enormous digestive sys- 
tem ; that the limbs, small in comparison with the 
body, are burdened by its weight ; that in carrying 
about this heavy body and digesting this excessive 
quantity of food, a great amount of force is ex- 
pended ; and tliat, having but little energy remain- 
ing, the creature is sluggish. Compare with the 
cow a horse — an animal of nearly allied structure, 
but adapted to a more concentrated food. Here 
we see that the body, and more especially its ab- 
dominal region, bears a much smaller ratio to the 
limbs ; that the powers are not taxed by the sup- 
port of such massive viscera, nor the digestion of 
so bulky a food ; and that, as a consequence, there 
is great locomotive energy and considerable vivaci- 
ty. If, again, we contrast the stolid inactivity of 
the graminivorous sheep with the liveliness of the 
dog, subsisting upon flesh or farinaceous food, or a 
mixture of the two, we see a diflerence similar in 
kind, but still greater in degree. And after walk- 
ing through the Zoological Gardens, and noting the 
restlessness with which the carnivorous animals 
pace up and down their cages, it needs but to re- 
member that none of the herbivorous animals 
habitually display this superfluous energy, to see 
how clear is the relation between conceiitration of 
food and degree of activity. 

That these diflerences are not directly consequent 
upon diflerences of constitution, as some may argue ; 
but are directly consequent upon diflerences in the 
food which the creatures are constituted to subsist 


on ; is proved by the fact, that they are observable 
between different divisions of the same species. 
Take the case of mankind. The Australians, Bush- 
men, and others of the lowest savages who live on 
roots and berries, varied by larv[e of insects and 
the like meagre fare, are comparatively pnny in 
stature, have large abdomens, soft and undeveloped 
muscles, and are quite unable to cope with Euro- 
peans, either in a struggle or in prolonged exertion. 
Count up the wild races who are well grown, 
strong and active, as the KaflSrs, !North- American 
Indians, and Patagonians, and you find them large 
consumers of flesh. The ill-fed Hindoo goes down 
before the Englishman fed on more nutritive food ; 
to whom he is as inferior in mental as in physical 
energy. And generally, we think, the history of 
the world shows that the well-fed races have been 
the energetic and dominant races. 

Still stronger, however, becomes the argument, 
when we find tliat the same individual animal be- 
comes capable of more or less exertion according 
as its food is more or less nutritious. This has 
been clearly demonstrated in the case of the horse. 
Though flesh may be gained by a grazing horse;, 
strength is lost; as putting him to hard work 
proves. "The consequence of turning horses out 
to grass is relaxation of the muscular system." 
" Grass is a very good preparation for a bullock for 
Smithfield market, but a very bad one for a hunt- 
er." It was well known of old that, after passing 
the summer months in the fields, hunters required 


some months of stable-feeding before becoming able 
to follow the hounds ; and that thej did not get in- 
to good condition until the beginning of the next 
spring. And the modern practice is that insisted 
on by Mr. Apperley — "Never to give a hunter 
what is called ' a summer's run at grass,' and, ex- 
cept under particular and very favourable circum- 
stances, never to turn him out at all." That is to 
say, never give him poor food : great energy and 
endurance are to be obtained only by the continu- 
ous use of very nutritive food. So true is this that, 
as proved by Mr. Apperley, prolonged high-feed- 
ing will enable a middling horse to equal, in his 
performances, a first-rate horse fed in the ordinary 
way. To which various evidences add the familiar 
fact that, when a horse is required to do double 
duty, it is tlie practice to give him beans — a food 
containing a larger proportion of nitrogenous, or 
flesh-making material, than his habitual oats. 

Once more, in the case of individual men tl)c 
truth has been illustrated with equal, or still great- 
er, clearness. We do not refer to men in training 
for feats of strength, whose regimen, however, 
thoroughly conforms to the doctrine. We refer to 
the experience of railway contractors and their 
labourers. It has been for years past a well-estab- 
lished fact that the English navvy, eating largely 
of flesh, is far more efficient than a Continental 
navvy living on a less nutritive food : so much more 
efficient, that English contractors for Continental 
railways have habitually taken their labourers with 


tliein. That difference of diet and not difference of 
race caused tliis superiority, lias been of late dis- 
tinctly shown. For it has turned out, that when 
the Continental navvies live in the same style as 
:theu' English competitors, they presently rise, more 
or less nearly, to a par with them in efficiency. To 
which fact let us here add the converge one, to which 
w^e can give personal testimony based upon six 
months' experience of vegetarianism, that abstinence 
from meat entails diminished energy of both body 
and mind. 

Do not these various evidences distinctly en- 
dorse our argument respecting the feeding of chil- 
dren ? Do they not imply that, even supposing the 
same stature and bulk to be attained on an innutri- 
tive as on a nutritive diet, the quality of tissue is 
greatly inferior ? Do they not establish the posi- 
tion that, where energy as well as growth has to be 
maintained, it can only be done by high feeding ? 
Do they not confirm the a p7'io7'i conclusion that, 
though a child of whom little is expected in the 
M'ay of bodily or mental activity, may tln-ive tolera- 
bly well on farinaceous substances, a child who is 
daily required, not only to form the due amount of 
new tissue, but to supply the waste consequent on 
great muscular action, and the further waste con- 
sequent on hard exercise of brain, must live on sub- 
stances containing a larger ratio of nutritive matter ? 
And is it not an obvious corollary, that denial of 
this better food will be at the expense either of 
growth, or of bodily activity, or of mental activity; 

children's diet should bb varied. 24:1 

as constitution and circinnstances may determine ? 
We believe no logical intellect will question it. To 
think otherwise is to entertain in a disguised form 
the old fallacy of the perpetual-motion schemers — 
that it is possible to get power out of nothing. 

Before leaving the question of food, a few words 
must be said on another requisite — variety. In this 
respect the dietary of the young is very faulty. If 
not, like our soldiers, condemned to " twenty years 
of boiled beef," our children have mostly to bear a 
monotony which, though less extreme and less last- 
ing, is quite as clearly at variance with the laws of 
health. At dinner, it is true, they usually have food 
that is more or less mixed, and that is changed day 
by day. But week after week, month after month, 
year after year, comes the same breakfast of bread- 
and-milk, or, it may be, oatmeal porridge. And 
with like persistence the day is closed, perhaps with 
a second edition of the bread-and-milk, perhaps 
wnth tea and bread-and-butter. 

This practice is opposed to the dictates of physi- 
ology. The satiety produced by an often-re])eated 
dish, and the gratification caused by one long a 
stranger to the palate, are 7iot meaningless, as many 
carelessly assume ; but they are the incentives to a 
wliolesome diversity of diet, It is a fact, establish- 
ed by numerous experiments, that there is scarcely 
any one food, however good, which supplies in due 
proportions or right forms all the elements required 
for carrying on the vital processes in a normal man- 
ner : from whence it is to be inferred that frequent 


change of food is desirable to balance the snpply of 
all the elements. It is a further fact, ■well known 
to physiologists, that the enjoyrnent given by a 
much-liked food is a nervous stimulus, which, by 
increasing the action of the heart and so propelling 
the blood with increased vigour, aids in the sub- 
sequent digestion. And these truths are in har- 
mony with the maxims of modern cattle-feeding, 
which dictate a rotation of diet. 

Not only, however, is periodic change of food 
very desirable ; but, for the same reasons, it is very 
desirable that a mixture of food should be taken at 
each meal. The better balance of ingredients, and 
the greater nervous stimulation, are advantages 
which hold here as before. If facts are asked for, 
we may name as one, the comparative ease with 
which the stomach disposes of a French dinner, 
enormous in quantity but extremely varied in ma- 
terial. Few will contend that an equal weight of 
one kind of food, however well cooked, could be 
digested with as much facility. If any desire 
further facts, they may find them in every modern 
book on the management of animals. Animals 
thrive best when each meal is made up of several 
things. And indeed, among men of science the truth 
has been long ago established. The experiments of 
Goss and Stark " afford the most decisive proof of 
the advantage, or rather the necessity, of a mixture of 
substances, in order to produce the compound which 
is tlie best adapted for the action of the stomach." * 

* CyclopcEilia of Anatomy and PJnjsiology. 


Should any object, as probably many will, tliat 
a rotating dietary for children, and one which also 
requires a mixture of food at each meal, would en- 
tail too much trouble ; we reply, that no trouble is 
thought too great which conduces to the mental 
development of children, and that for their future 
welfare, good bodily development is equally impor- 
tant. Moreover, it seems alike sad and strange that 
a trouble which is cheerfully taken in the fattening 
of pigs, should be thought too great in the rearing 
of children. 

One more paragraph, with the view of warning 
those who may propose to adopt the regimen indi- 
cated. The change must not be made suddenly ; 
for continued low-feeding so enfeebles the system, 
as to disable it from at once dealing with a high 
diet. Deficient nutrition is itself a cause of dyspep- 
sia. This is true even of animals. "When calves 
are fed wntli skimmed milk, or whey, or other poor 
food, they are liable to indigestion." * Hence, 
therefore, where the energies are low, the transition 
to a generous diet must be gradual : each incre- 
ment of strength gained, justifying a further increase 
of nutriment. Further, it should always be borne 
in mind that the concentration, of nutriment may 
be carried too far. A bulk sufficient to fill the 
stomach is one requisite of a proper meal ; and this 
requisite negatives a diet deficient in those waste 
matters which give adequate mass. Though the 
size of the digestive organs is less in the well-fed 

* Morton's Cyclopcedia of Agricullure. 


civilized races than in the ill-fed savage ones ; and, 
though their size may eventually diminish stiil 
further ; yet, for the time heing, the bulk of the in- 
gesta must be determined by the existing capacity. 
But, paying due regard to these two qualifications 
our conclusions are — that the food of children 
should be highly nutritive ; that it should be varied 
at each meal and at successive meals ; and that it 
should be abundant. 

With clothing as with food, the established ten- 
dency is towards an improper scantiness. Here, 
too, asceticism peeps out. There is a current theory, 
vaguely entertained, if not put into a definite 
formula, that the sensations are to be disregard- 
ed. They do not exist for our guidance, but to 
mislead us, seems to be the prevalent belief reduced 
to its naked form. It is a grave error : we are 
much more beneficently constituted. It is not 
obedience to the sensations, but disobedience to 
them, which is the habitual cause of bodily evils- 
It is not the eating when hungry, but the eating in 
the absence of appetite, which is bad. It is not the 
drinking when thirsty, but the continuing to drink 
when thirst has ceased, that is the vice. Harm re- 
sults not from breathing that fresh air which every 
healthy person enjoys ; but from continuing to 
breathe foul air, spite of the protest of the lungs. 
Harm results not from taking that active exercise 
which, as every child shows us, nature strongly 
prompts ; but from a persistent disregard of nature's 


promptings. Not that mental activ'itj wliich is 
spontaneous and enjoyable does the mischief; but 
that which is persevered in after a hot or acliiiig 
head commands desistance. IS^ot that bodily exer- 
tion which is pleasant or indiiferent, does injiirv ; 
but that which is continued wlien exhaustion forbids. 
It is true that, in those who have long led unhealtliy 
lives, the sensations are not trustworthy guides. 
People who have for years been almost constant- 
ly in-doors, who have exercised their brains very 
much, and their bodies scarcely at all, who in eating 
have obeyed their clocks without consulting their 
stomachs, may very likely be misled by their 
vitiated feelings. But their abnormal state is itself 
the result of transgressing their feelings. Had they 
from childhood up never disobeyed what we may 
term the physical conscience, it would not have been 
seared, but would have remained a faithful monitor. 
Among the sensations serving for our gui(!aiico 
are those of heat and cold; and a clothing for chil- 
dren which does not carefully consult these sensa- 
tions is to be condemned. The common notion 
about "hardening" is a grievous delusion. Chil- 
dren are not unfrequently " hardened " out of the 
world ; and those M'ho survive, permanently sulfer 
either in growth or constitution. " Their delicate 
appearance furnishes ample indication of the mis- 
chief thus produced, and their frequent attacks of 
illness'might prove a warning even to unreflecting 
parents," says Dr. Combe. The reasoning on which 
this hardening theory rests is extremely superficial. 


Wealthy parents, seeing little peasant boys and 
girls playing about in the open air only half-clothed, 
and joining with this fact the general healthiness of 
labouring people, draw the unwarrantable conclu- 
sion that the healthiness is the result of the expo= 
sure, and resolve to keep their own offspring scan- 
tily covered! It is forgotten that these urchins 
who gambol upon village-greens are in many re- 
spects favourably circumstanced — that their days 
are spent in almost perpetual play ; that they are 
always breathing fresh air ; and that their systems 
are not disturbed by over-taxed brains. For aught 
that appears to the contrary, their good health may 
be maintained, not in consequence of, but in spite 
of, their deficient clothing. This alternative con- 
clusion we believe to be the true one ; and that an 
inevitable detriment results from the needless loss 
of animal heat to which they are subject. 

For when, the constitution being sound enough 
to bear it, exposure does produce hardness, it does 
so at the expense of growth. This truth is display- 
ed alike in animals and in man. The Shetland 
pony bears greater inclemencies than the horses of 
the south, but is dwarfed. Highland sheep and 
cattle, living in a colder climate, are stunted in 
comparison with English breeds. In both the arc- 
tic and antarctic regions the human race falls 
much below its ordinary height: the Laphmder 
and Esquimaux are very short ; and the TeiTa del 
Fuegians, who go naked in a cold latitude, are de- 
ecribcd by Darwin as so stunted and hideous, that 


*' one can hardly make one's self believe they are 

Science clearly explains this dwarfishness pro- 
duced by great abstraction of heat : showing that, 
food and other things being equal, it unavoidably 
results. For, as before pointed out, to make up for 
that cooling by radiation which the body is con- 
stantly undergoing, there must be a constant oxida- 
tion of certain matters which form part of the food. 
And in proportion as the thermal loss is great, must 
the quantity of these matters required for oxidation 
be great. But the power of the digestive organs is 
limited. Hence it follows, that when they have to 
prepare a large quantity of this material needful 
for maintaining the temperature, they can prepare 
but a small quantity of the material which goes to 
build up the frame. Excessive expenditure for fuel 
entails diminished means for other purposes : where- 
fore there necessarily results a body small in size, 
or inferior in texture, or both. 

Hence the great importance of clothing. As 
Liebig says : — " Our clothing is, in reference to the 
temperature of the body, merely an equivalent for 
a certain amount of food." By diminishing the 
loss of heat, it diminishes the amount of fuel need- 
ful for maintaining the heat ; and when the stom- 
ach has less to do in preparing fuel, it can do more 
in preparing other materials. This deduction is 
entirely confirmed by the experience of those who 
manage animals. Cold can be borne by animals 
only at an expense of fat, or muscle, or growth, as 


the case may be. " If fattening cattle are exposed 
to a low temperature, either their progress must be 
retarded, or a great additional expenditure of food 
incurred." * Mr. Apperley insists strongly that, to 
bring hunters into good condition, it is necessary 
that the stable should be kept warm. And among 
those who rear racers, it is an established doctrine 
that exposure is to be avoided. 

The scientific truth thus illustrated by ethnolo-> 
gy. and recognised by agriculturists and sportsmen, 
applies with double force to children. In propor- 
tion to their smallness and the rapidity of their 
growth is the injury from cold great. In France, 
new-born infants often die in winter from being 
carried to the office of the maire for registration. 
"M. Quetelet has pointed out, that in Belgium two 
infants die in January for one that dies in July." 
And in Russia the infavit mortality is something 
enormous. Even when near maturity, the unde- 
veloped frame is comparatively unable to bear ex- 
posure : as witness the quickness with Avhich 
voung soldiers succumb in a trvino^ campaii^n. 
The rationale is obvious. We have already ad- 
verted to the fact that, in consequence of the vary- 
ing relation between surface and bulk, a child loses 
a relatively larger amount of heat than an adult; 
and here we must point out that the disadvantage 
under which the child thus labours is verj- great. 
Lehmann says : — " If the carbonic acid excreted by 
children or young animals is calculated for an 
* Morton's Cydojxzdia of Agriculture. 


equal bodily weight, it results tliat children pro- 
duce nearly twice as much acid as adults." Now 
the quantity of carbonic acid given off varies with 
tolerable accuracy as the quantity of heat j^roduced. 
And thus we see that in chiklren the system, even 
when not placed at a disadvantage, is called upon 
to provide nearly double the proportion of material 
for generating heat. 

See, then, the extreme folly of clothing the 
young scantily. What father, full-grown though 
he is, losing heat less rapidly as he does, and hav- 
ing no physiological necessity but to supply the 
waste of each day — what father, we ask, would 
think it salutary to go about with bare legs, bare 
arms, and bare neck? Yet this tax upon the S3"S- 
tem, from which he would shrink, lie inflicts upon 
his little ones, who are so much less able to bear 
it! or, if he does not inflict it, sees it inflicted with- 
out protest. Let him remember that every ounce 
of nutriment needlessly expended for the mainte- 
nance of temperature, is so much deducted from 
the nutriment going to build up the frame and 
maintain the energies ; and that even when colds, 
congestions, or other consequent disorders are 
escaped, diminished growth or less perfect struc- 
ture is inevitable. 

" The rule is, therefore, not to dress in an inva- 
riable way in all cases, but to put on clothing in 
kind and quantity sufficient in the individual case 
to protect the hod y effectually from an abiding sensa- 
tion of cold, however slight^ This rule, the impor- 


tance of which Dr. Combe indicates by the italics, 
is one in wliich men of science and practitioners 
agree. We have met with none competent to form 
a judgment on the matter, who do not strongly con- 
demn the exposure of children's limbs. If there is 
one point above otliers in which "pestilent custom" 
should be ignored, it is this. 

Lamentable, indeed, is it to see mothers serious- 
\y damaging the constitutions of their children out 
of compliance with an irrational fasliion. It is bad 
enough that they should themselves conform to 
every folly which our Gallic neighbours please to 
initiate ; but that they should clothe their children 
in any mountebank dress which Z,e petit Courtlier 
des Dames indicates, regardless of its insufficiency 
and nnfitness, is monstrous. Discomfort, more or 
less great, is inflicted ; freqnent disorders are en- 
tailed ; growth is checked or stamina undermined ; 
premature death not uncommonly caused ; and all 
because it is thought needful to make frocks of a 
size and material dictated by French caprice. Not 
only is it that for the sake of conformity, mothers 
thus punish and injure their little ones by scanti- 
ness of covering; but it is that from an allied 
motive they impose a style of dress which forbids 
healthful activity. To please the eye, colours and 
fabrics are chosen totally unfit to bear that rough 
usage which unrestrained play involves; and then 
to prevent damage the unrestrained play is inter- 
dicted. "Get up this moment: you will soil your 
clean frock," is the mandate issued to some urchin 


creeping about on the floor. " Come back : you 
will dirty your stockings," calls out the governess 
to one of her charges, who has left the footpath to 
scramble up a bank. Thus is the evil doubled. 
That they may come up to their mamma's stand- 
ard of prettiness, and be admired by her visitors, 
children must have habiliments deficient in quanti- 
ty and unfit in texture ; and tliat these easily- 
damaged habiliments may be kept clean and unin- 
jured, the i-estless activity, so natural and needful 
for the young, is more or less restrained. The ex- 
ercise which becomes doubly requisite when the 
clothing is insnfiScient, is cut short, lest it should 
deface the clothinor. Would that the terrible cruel- 
ty of this system could be seen by those who main- 
tain it. We do not hesitate to say that, through 
enfeebled health, defective energies, and conse- 
quent non-success in life, thousands are annually 
doomed to unhappiness by this unscrupulous regard 
for appearances : even when they are not, by early 
death, literally sacrificed to the Moloch of maternal 
vanity. We are reluctant to counsel strong meas- 
ures, but really the evils are so great as to justif}-, 
or even to demand, a peremptory interference on 
the part of fothers. 

Our conclusions are, then — that, while the cloth- 
ing of children should never be in such excess as 
to create oppressive warmth, it should always be 
sufiicient to prevent any general feeling of cold ; "^ 

* It is needful to remark that children whose legs and arms 
hare been from the beginning habitually without covering, cease to 


tliat, instead of the flimsy cotton, linen, or mixed 
fabrics commonly used, it should be made of some 
cjood non-conductor, such as coarse woollen cloth ; 
that it should be so strong as to receive little dam- 
age from the hard wear and tear which childish 
sports will give it ; and that its colours should be 
such as will not soon suffer from use and exposure. 

To the importance of bodily exercise most peo- 
ple are in some degree awake. Perhaps less needs 
saying on this requisite of physical education than 
on most others : at any rate, in so far as boys are 
concerned. Public schools and private schools 
alike furnish tolerably adequate playgrounds ; and 
tliere is usually a fair share of time for out-of-door 
games, and a recognition of them as needful. In 
this, if in no other direction, it seems admitted that 
the natural promptings of boyish instinct may ad- 
vantageously be followed ; and, indeed, in the 
modern practice of breaking the prolonged morning 
and afternoon's lessons by a few minutes' open-air 
recreation, we see an increasing tendency to con- 
form school regulations to the bodily sensations of 
the i^upils. Here, then, little needs to be said in 
the way of expostulation or suggestion. 

be conscious that the exposed surfaces are cold ; just as by use we 
liave all ceased to be conscious that our faces are cold, even when 
out of doors. But though in such children the sensations no longer 
protest, it does not follow that the system escapes injury; anymore 
than it follows that the Fuegian is undamaged by exposure, because 
he bears with indiftcrcncc the melting of the falling snow on his 
naked body. 


But we have been obliged to qualify this ad- 
mission by inserting the clause " in so far as boys 
are concerned." Unfortunately, the fact is quite 
otherwise in the case of girls. It chances, some- 
what strangely, that we have daily opportunity of 
drawing a comparison. We have both a boy's and 
a girl's school within view ; and the contrast be- 
tween them is remarkable. In the one case, nearly 
the whole of a large garden is turned into an open, 
gravelled space, atfording ample scope for games, 
and supplied with j)oles and horizontal bars for 
gj^mnastic exercises. Every day before breakfast, 
again towards eleven o'clock, again at mid-day, 
again in the afternoon, and once more after school 
is over, the neighbourhood is awakened by a chorus 
of shouts and laughter as the boys rush out to play ; 
and for as long as they remain, both eyes and ears 
give proof that they are absorbed in that enjoyable 
activity which makes the pulse bound and ensures 
the healthful activity of every organ. How unlike 
is the picture offered by the "Establishment for 
Young Ladies"! Until the fact was pointed out, 
we actually did not know that we had a girPs 
school as close to us as the school for boys. The 
garden, equally large with the other, affords no 
sign wliatever of any provision for juvenile recrea- 
tion; but is entirely laid out with prim grassplots, 
gravel-walks, shrubs, and flowers, after the usual 
suburban style. During five months we have not 
once had our attention drawn to th.e premises by a 
shout or a laugh. Occasionally girls may be ob' 


served sauntering along the jjatlis Avitli their lesson- 
books in their hands, or else walking arm-in-arm. 
Once, indeed, we saw one chase another round the 
garden ; but, with this exception, nothing like 
vigorous exertion has been visible. 

Why this astonishing difference ? Is it that the 
constitution of a girl differs so entirely from that 
of a boy as not to need these active exercises? Is 
it that a girl has none of the promptings to vocifer- 
ous play by which boys are impelled ? Or is it 
that, while in boys these promptings are to be re- 
garded as securing that bodily activity without 
which there cannot be adequate development, to 
their sisters nature has given them for no purpose 
whatever — unless it be for the vexation of school- 
mistresses ? Perhaps, however, we mistake the 
aim of those who train the gentler sex. We have 
a vague suspicion that to produce a rohus,tj)/ii/sique 
is thought undesirable ; that rude health and 
abundant vigour are considered somewhat plebe- 
ian ; that a certain delicacy, a strength not compe- 
tent to more than a mile or two's walk, an appetite 
fastidious and easily satisfied, joined with that ti- 
midity which commonly accompanies feebleness, 
are held more lady-like. We do not expect that 
any would distinctly avow this ; but we fancy the 
governess-mind is haunted by an ideal young lady 
bearing not a little resemblance to this type. If 
60, it must be admitted that the established system 
is admirabl}^ calculated to realize this ideal. But 
to suppose that such is the ideal of the opposite 


eex is a profound mistake. That men are not com- 
monly drawn towards masculine women, is doubt- 
less true. That such relative weakness as calls for 
the protection of superior strength is an element 
of attraction, we quite admit. But the difierence 
to whicli the feelings thus respond is the natural, 
pre-established difference, which will assert itself 
without artificial appliances. And when, by artifi- 
cial appliances, the degree of this diflierence is in- 
creased, it becomes an element of repulsion rather 
than attraction. 

" Then girls should be allowed to run wild — to 
become as rude as boys, and grow up into romps 
and hoydens ! " exclaims some defender of the pro- 
prieties. This, we presume, is the ever-present 
dread of schoolmistresses. It appears, on inquiry, 
that at " Establishments for Young Ladies " noisy 
play like that daily indulged in by boys, is a punish- 
able offence ; and it is to be inferred that this noisy 
play is forbidden, lest unlady-like habits should 
be formed. The fear is quite groundless, however- 
For if the sportive activity allowed to boys docs 
not prevent them from growing up into gentlemen ; 
why should a like sportive activity allowed to 
girls prevent them from growing up into ladies ? 
Rough as may have been their accustomed play- 
ground frolics, youtlis who have left school do not 
indulge in leapfrog in the street, or marbles in tlie 
drawing-room. Abandoning their jackets, they 
abandon at the same time boyish games ; and dis- 
play an anxiety — often a ludicrous anxiety — to 



avoid whatever is not manly. If now, on arriving 
at the due age, this feeling of masculine dignity 
puts so efficient a restraint on the romping sports 
of boyhood, will not the feeling of feminine mod- 
esty, gradually strengthening as maturity is ap- 
proached, 23iit an efficient restraint on the like 
sports of girlhood ? Have not Avomen even a 
greater regard for appearances than men ? and will 
there not consequently arise in them even a stronger 
check to M'hatever is rough or boisterous ? How 
absurd is the supposition that the womanly in- 
stincts would not assert themselves but for the rig- 
orous discipline of schoolmistresses ! 

In this, as in other cases, to remedy the evils of 
one artificiality, another artificiality has been intro- 
duced. The natural spontaneous exercise having 
been forbidden, and the bad consequences of no 
exercise having become conspicuous, there has 
been adopted a system of factitious exercise — gym- 
nastics. That this is better than nothing we ad- 
mit ; but that it is an adequate substitute for play 
we deny. The defects are both positive and nega- 
tive. In the first place, these formal, muscular 
motions, necessarily much less varied than those 
accompanying juvenile sports, do not secure so 
equable a distribution of action to all parts of the 
body ; whence it results that the exertion, falling 
on special parts, produces fatigue sooner- than it 
would else have done : add to which, that, if con- 
stantly repeated, this exertion of special parts leads 
to a disproportionate development. Again, the 


quantity of exercise thus taken will be deficient, 
not only in consequence of uneven distribution, but 
it will be further deficient in consequence of lack 
of interest. Even when not made repulsive, aa 
they sometimes are, by assuming the shape of ap- 
pointed lessons, these monotonous movements are 
sure to become wearisome, from the absence of 
amusement. Competition, it is true, serves as a 
stimulus ; but it is not a lasting stimulus, like that 
enjoyment w4iich accompanies varied play. Not 
only, however, are gymnastics inferior in respect 
of the quantity of muscular exertion which they 
secure ; they are still more inferior in respect of 
the quality. This comparative want of enjoyment 
to which we have just referred as a cause of early 
desistance from artificial exercises, is also a cause 
of inferiority in the effects they produce on the 
system. The common assumption that so long as 
the amount of bodily action is the same, it matters 
not whether it be pleasurable or otherwise, is a 
grave mistake. An agreeable mental excitement 
has a highly invigorating influence. See the ef- 
fect produced upon an invalid by good news, or by 
the visit of an old friend. Mark how careful med- 
ical men are to recommend lively society to debili- 
tated patients. Remember how beneficial to the 
health is the gratification produced by change of 
scene. The truth is that happiness is the most 
powerful of tonics. By accelerating the circulation 
of the blood, it facilitates the performance of every 
function i and so tends alike to increase health 


M'lien it exists, and to restore it when it has been 
lost. Hence the essential superiority of play to 
gymnastics. The extreme interest felt by children 
in their games, and the riotous glee with wliich 
they carry on their rougher frolics, are of as much 
importance as the accompanying exertion. And 
as not supplying these mental stimuli, gymnastics 
must be fundamentally defective. 

Granting then, as we do, that formal exercises 
of the limbs are better than nothing — granting, 
further, that they may be used with advantage as 
supplementary aids ; we yet contend that such 
formal exercises can never supjjly the place of the 
exercises prompted b}' nature. For girls, as well 
as boys, the sportive activities to which the in- 
stincts impel, are essential to bodily welfare. 
Whoever forbids them, forbids the divinely-ap- 
pointed means to pliysical development. 

A topic still remains — one perhaps more ur- 
gently demanding consideration than any of the 
foregoing. It is asserted by not a few, that among 
the educated classes the younger adults and tliose 
who are verging upon maturity are, on the avei'- 
age, neither so well grown nor so strong as their 
seniors. When first m'c lieard this assertion, we 
were inclined to disregard it as one of the many 
manifestations of the old tendency to exalt the past 
at the expense of the present. Calling to mind the 
facts that, as measured by ancient armour, modern 
men are proved to be larger than ancient men, and 


tliat the tables of mortality show no diminution, 
but rather an increase In the duration of life, we 
paid little attention to what seemed a groundless 
belief. Detailed observation, however, has greatly 
shaken our opinion. Omitting from the compari- 
son the labouring classes, we have noticed a niajor- 
ify of cases in which the cliildren do not reach the 
stature of their parents ; and, in massiveness, mak- 
ing due allowance for difference of age, there seems 
a like inferioriiy. In health, the contrast appears 
still greater. Met; of past generations, living riot- 
ously as they did, could bear much more than men 
of the present generation, who live soberly, can 
bear. Though they drank hard, kept irregular 
hours, were regardless of fresh air, and tiiought lit- 
tle of cleanliness, our recent ancestors were capa- 
ble of jjrolonged application without injury, even 
to a ripe old age : witness the annals of the bench 
and the bar. Yet we who think much about our 
bodily welfare ; who eat with moderation, and do 
not drink to excess ; who attend to ventilation, and 
use frequent ablutions ; who make annual excur- 
sions, and have the benefit of greater medical 
knowledge ; — we are continually breaking down 
under our work. Paying considerable attention to 
the laws of health, we seem to be weaker than 
our grandfathers who, in many respects, defied tlie 
laws of health. And, judging from the appear- 
ance and frequent ailments of the rising generation, 
they are likely to be even less robust than our- 


What is the meaning of this ? Is it that past 
over-feeding, aHke of adults and juveniles, was less 
injurious than the under-feeding to which we have 
adverted as now so general ? Is it that the defi- 
cient clothing which this delusive hardening theory 
has encouraged, is to blame ? Is it that the greater 
or less discouragement of juvenile sports, in defer- 
ence to a false refinement, is the cause ? From our 
reasonings it may be inferred that each of these 
has probably" had a share in producing the evil. 
But there has been yet another detrimental in- 
fluence at work, perhaps more potent than any of 
the others : we mean — excess of mental applica- 

On old and young, the pressure of modern life 
puts a still-increasing strain. In all businesses and 
professions, intenser competition taxes the energies 
and abilities of every adult ; and, with the view of 
better fitting the young to hold their place under 
this intenser competition, they are subject to a more 
severe discipline than heretofore. The damage is 
thus doubled. Fathers, who find not only that they 
are run hard by their multiplying competitors, but 
that, while labouring under this disadvantage, they 
have to maintain a more expensive style of living, 
are all the year round obliged to work early and 
late, taking little exercise and getting but short 
holidays. The constitutions, shaken by this long 
continued over-application, tlie}^ bequeath to their 
children. And then these comparativelj" feeble 
children, predisposed as they are to break down 


even under an ordinaiy strain upon their energies, 
are required to go through a curriculum much 
more extended than that prescribed for the unen- 
feebled children of past generations. 

That disastrous consequences must result from 
this cumulative transgression might be predicted 
with certainty ; and that they do result, every ob- 
servant person knows. Go where yon will, and 
before long there come under your notice cases of 
children, or youths, of either sex, more or less in- 
jured by undue study. Here, to recover from a 
state of debility thus produced, a year's rustica- 
tion has been found necessary. Tliere yon find a 
chronic congestion of the brain, that has already 
lasted many months, and threatens to last much 
longer. Now you hear of a fever that resulted from 
the over-excitement in some way brought on at 
school. And, again, the instance is that of a youth 
who has already had once to desist fromhis studies, 
and who, since he has returned to them, is frequent- 
ly taken out of his class in a fainting fit. We state 
facts — facts that have not been sought for, but have 
been thrust upon our observation during the last 
two years : and that, too, within a very limited 
range. Nor have M-e by any means exhausted the 
list. Quite recently we had the opportunity of 
marking how the evil becomes hereditary : the case 
being that of a lady of robust parentage, whose sys- 
tem was so injured by the regime of a Scotch board- 
ino:-school, where she was under-fed and over-work- 


etl, that she invariably suffers from vertigo on rising 
in the morning; and whose children, inheriting this 
enfeebled brain, are several of them nnable to bear 
even a moderate amount of study without headache 
or giddiness. At the present time we have daily 
under our eyes, a young lady whose system has 
been damaged for life by the college-course tlii'ough 
which she has passed. Taxed as she was to such 
an extent that she had no energy left for exercise, 
she is, now that she has finished her education, a 
constant complainant. Appetite small and very 
capricious, mostly refusing meat ; extremities per- 
petually cold, even when the weather is warm ; a 
feebleness which forbids anything but the slowest 
walking, and that only for a short time ; palpitation 
on going up stairs ; greatly impaired vision — these, 
joined with checked growth and lax tissue, are 
among the results entailed. And to her case we 
may add that of her friend and fellow-student ; who 
is similarly w-eak ; who is liable to faint even under 
the excitement of a quiet party of friends ; and who 
has at length been obliged by her medical attend- 
ant to desist from study entirely. 

If injuries so conspicuous are thus frequent, how 
very general must be the smaller and inconspicu- 
ous injuries. To one case w^here positive illness is 
directly traceable to over-application, there are 
probably at least half-a-dozen cases where the evil 
is unobtrusive and slowly accumulating — cases 
where there is frequent derangement of the func- 


tions, attributed to this or that special cause, or to 
constitutional delicacy ; cases where there is retar- 
dation and premature arrest of bodily growth ; 
cases where a latent tendency to consumption is 
brought out and established ; cases where a predis- 
position is given to that now common cerebral dis- 
order brought on by the hard work of adult life. 
How commonly constitutions are thus undermined, 
will be clear to all who, after noting the frequent 
ailments of hard-worked professional and mercantile 
men, will reflect on the disastrous effects which 
undue application must produce upon the unde- 
veloped systems of the young. The young are com- 
petent to bear neither as much hardship, nor as 
much physical exertion, nor as much mental exer- 
tion, as the full grown. Judge, then, if the full 
grown so manifestly suffer from the excessive mental 
exertion required of them, how great must be the 
damage wliich a mental exertion, often equally ex- 
cessive, inflicts upon the young ! 

Indeed, when we examine the merciless school- 
drill to which many children are subjected, the 
wonder is, not that it does great injury, but that it 
can be borne at all. Take the instance given by 
Sir John Forbes from personal knowledge ; and 
which he asserts, after much inquiry, to be an 
average sample of the middle-class girl's-school sys- 
tem throughout England. Omitting the detailed 
divisions of time, we quote the summary of the 
twenty-four hours. 


In bed 9 hours (tiic joungcr 10) 

In school, at their studies and 

tasks 9 " 

In school, or in the liouso, the 

older at optional studies or 

the work, younger at play . . oi " (the younger 2h) 

At meals H " 

Exercise in the open air, in the 

shape of a formal walk, often 

with lesson books in hand, and 

even this only when the wea- 
ther is fine at the appointed 

time 1 " 


And what are the results of this "astonndnig 
regimen," as Sir John Forbes terms it? Of course 
feebleness, pallor, want of s])irits, general ill-health. 
But he describes something more. This utter dis- 
regard of physical welfare, out of extreme anxiety 
to cultivate the mind — this prolonged exercise of 
the brain and deficient exercise of the limbs, — he 
found to be habitually followed, not only by dis- 
ordered functions but by malformation. He says : 
— " We lately visited, in a large toAvn, a boarding- 
school containing forty girls ; and we learnt, on 
close and accurate inquiry, that there was not one 
of the girls who had been at the school two years 
(and the majority had been as long) that was not 
more or less crooked ! " * 

It may be that since 1833, when this was written, 
some improvement has taken place. We hope it 

* Cyclopcedia of Practical Medicine, vol. i. pp. CC7, 098. 


has. But that the system is still common — nay, 
that it is in some cases carried even to a greater 
extreme than ever ; we can personally testify. We 
recently went over a training college for yonng 
men : one of those instituted of late years for the 
purpose of supplying schools with well-disciplined 
teachers. Here, under official supervision, where 
something better than the judgment of pri\'ate 
schoolmistresses might have been looked for, we 
found the daily routine to be as follows : — 

At 6 o'clock the students are called, 
" 7 to 8 studies, 

" 8 to 9 scripture reading, prayers, and breakfast, 
" 9 to 12 studies, 
'' 12 to IJ leisure, nominally devoted to walking or other 

exercise, but often s[)ent in stndj^, 
'• 1:^ to 2 dinner, the meal commonly occup3ing twenty 

" 2 to 5 studies, 
" 5 to G tea and relaxation, 
" 6 to 8i studies, 
" 8^ to 9| private studies in preparing lessons for the next 

" 10 to bed. 

Thus, out of the twenty-four hours, eight are de- 
voted to sleep ; four and a quarter are occupied in 
dressing, prayers, meals, and the brief periods of 
rest accompanying them ; ten and a half are given 
to study ; and one and a quarter to exercise, which 
is optional and often avoided. Not only, however, 
is it that the ten and a half hours of recognised 
study are freqnently increased to eleven and a half 


by devoting to books the time set apart for exercise ; 
but some of the students who are not quick in learn- 
ing, get up at four o'clock in the morning to prepare 
their lessons ; and are actually encouraged by their 
teachers to do this ! The course to be passed 
through in a given time is so extensive ; the teach- 
ers, whose credit is at stake in getting their pupils 
well through the examinations, are so urgent; and 
the difficulty of satisfying the requirements is so 
great; that pupils are not uncommonly induced to 
spend twelve and thirteen hours a day in mental 
labour ! 

It needs no prophet to see that the bodily injury 
inflicted must be great. As we were told by one 
of the inmates, those who arrive with fresh com- 
plexions quickly become blanched. Illness is fre- 
quent : there are always some on the sick-list. Fail- 
ure of appetite and indigestion are very common. Di- 
arrhoea is a prevalent disorder : not mieommonly a 
third of the whole number of students suffering 
under it at the same time. Headache is generally 
complained of; and b\' some is borne almost daily 
for months. While a certain percentage break 
down entirely and go away. 

That this should be the regimen of what is in 
some sort a model institution, established and super- 
intended by the embodied enlightenment of the 
aere, is a startlinsj; fact. That the severe examina- 
tions, joined with the short period assigned for prep- 
aration, should practically compel recourse to a 
system which inevitably undermines the health of 


all who pass through it, is proof, if not of cruelty, 
then of woful ignorance. 

Doubtless the case is in a great degree excep- 
tional — perhaps to be paralleled only in other insti' 
tutions of the same class. But that cases so extreme 
should exist at all, indicates pretty clearly how 
great is the extent to which the minds of the rising 
generation are overtasked. Expressing as they do 
the ideas of the educated community, these training 
colleges, even in the absence of all other evidence, 
would conclusively imply a prevailing tendency to 
an unduly urgent system of culture. 

It seems strange that there should be so little 
consciousness of the dangers of over-education dur- 
ing youth, when there is so general a consciousness 
of the dangers of over-education during childhood. 
Most parents are more or less aware of the evil 
consequences that follow infant precocity. In every 
society may be heard reprobation of those who too 
early stimulate the minds of their little ones. And 
the dread of this early stimulation is great in pro- 
portion as there is adequate knowledge of the 
effects : witness the implied opinion of one of our 
most distinguished professors of physiology, who 
told us that he did not intend his little boy to learn 
any lessons until he was eight years old. But 
while to all it is a familiar truth that a forced 
development of intelligence in childhood entails 
disastrous results — either physical feebleness, or 
ultimate stupidity, or early death — it appears not 
to be perceived that throughout youth the same 


truth holds. Yet it is certain that it must do so. 
There is a given order in whicli, and a given rate 
at which, the faculties unfold. If the course of 
education conforms itself to that order and rate, 
well. If not — if the higher faculties are early taxed 
by presenting an order of knowledge more complex 
and abstract than can be readily assimilated ; or if, 
by excess of culture, the intellect in general is 
developed to a degree bej^ond that whicli is natural _ 

to the age; the abnormal result so produced will m 

inevitably be accompanied by some equivalent, or 
more than equivalent, evih 

For ligature is a strict accountant ; and if you 
demand of lier in one direction more than she is 
prepared to lay out, she balances the account by 
making a deduction elsewhere. If you M-ill let her 
follow her own course, taking care to supply, in 
right quantities and kinds, the raw materials of 
bodily and mental growth required at each age, she 
will eventually produce an individual more or less 
evenly developed. If, however, you insist on pre- 
mature or undue growth of any one part, she will, 
with more or less protest, concede the point ; but 
that she may do your extra work, she must leave 
some of her more important work undone. Let it 
never be forgotten that the amount of vital energy 
which the body at any moment possesses is limited ; 
and that, being limited, it is impossible to get from 
it more than a fixed quantity of results. In a child 
or youth the demands upon this vital energy are 
various and ni-gent. As before pointed out, the 


V aste consequent on the day's bodily exercise has 
to be repaired ; the wear of brain entailed by the 
day's study has to be made good ; a certain addi- 
tional growth of body has to be provided for ; and 
also a certain additional growth of brain : add to 
which the amount of energy absorbed in the diges- 
tion of the large quantity of food required for meet- 
ing these many demands. Now, that to div^ert an 
excess of energ}" into any one of these channels if* 
to abstract it from the others, is not only manifest 
d 2>'i'iQrl ; but may be shown a foderiori from the 
experience of every one. Every one knows, for in- 
stance, that the digestion of a heavy meal makes 
such a demand on the system as to produce lassi- 
tude of mind and body, ending not unt'requently in 
sleep. Every one knows, too, that excess of bodily 
exercise diminishes the power of thought — that the 
temporary prostration following any sudden exer- 
tion, or the fatigue produced by a thirty miles' 
walk, is accompanied by a disinclination to mental 
effort ; that, after a month's pedestrian tour, the 
mental inertia is snch that some days are required 
to overcome it ; and that in peasants who spend their 
lives in muscular labour the activity of mind is very 
small. Again, it is a truth familiar to all that dur- 
ing those fits of extreme rapid growth which s'::ne- 
times occur in childhood, the great abstraction of 
energy is shown in the attendant prostration, bodily 
and mental. Once more, the facts that violent 
muscular exertion after eating will stop digestion, 
and that children who are early put to hard labour 


become stunted, similarly exhibit the antagonism 
— similarly imply that excess of activity in one 
direction involves deficiency of it in other direc- 
tions. Now, the law which is thus manifest in ex- 
treme cases holds in all cases. These injurious ab- 
stractions of energy as certainly take i)lace when 
the undue demands are slight and constant, as 
when they are great and sudden. Hence, if in 
youth, the expenditure in mental labour exceeds 
that which nature had provided for ; the expendi- 
ture for other purposes falls below what it should 
have Ijeen : and evils of one kind or other are inev- 
itably entailed. Let us briefly consider these evils. 
Supposing the over-activity of brain not to be 
extreme, but to exceed the normal activity only in 
a moderate degree, there will be nothing more than 
some slight reaction on the development of the 
body : the stature falling a little below that which 
it would else have reached ; or the bulk being less 
than it would have been ; or the (piality of tissue 
being not so good. One or more of these effects 
must necessarily occur. The extra quantity of 
blood supplied to the brain, not only during the 
period of mental exertion, but during the subse- 
quent period in which the waste of cerebral sub- 
stance is being made good, is blood that would else 
have been circulating through the limbs and vis- 
cera; and the amount of growth or repair for which 
that blood would have supplied materials, is lost. 
This physical reaction being certain, the question 
is, whether the gain resulting from the extra cul- 


ture is equivalent to the loss ? — whether defect of 
bodily growth, or the want of that structural per- 
fection M'hich gives high vigour and endurance, 
is compensated for by the additional knowledge 
gained ? 

^Vhen the excess of mental exertion is greater, 
there follow results far more serious; telling not 
0!ily against bodily perfection, but against the 
perfection of the brain itself. It is a physiological 
law, first pointed out by M. Isidore St. Hilaire, and 
to which attention has been drawn by Mr. Lewes 
in his essay on Dwarfs and Giants^ that there is 
an antagonism between growth and development. 
By growth, as used in this antithetical sense, is to 
be understood increase of size ; by development, 
increase of structure. And the law is, that great 
activity in either of these processes involves retar- 
dation or arrest of the other. A familiar illustra- 
tion is furnished by the cases of the caterpillar and 
the chrysalis. In the caterpillar there is extremely 
rapid augmentation of bulk ; but the structure is 
scarcely at all more complex when the caterpillar 
is full-grown than when it is small. In the chrj-sa- 
lis the bulk does not increase ; on the contrary, 
weight is lost during this stage of the creature's 
life ; but the elaboration of a more complex struc- 
ture goes on with great activity. The antagonism, 
here so clear, is less traceable in higher creatures, 
becUuse the two processes are carried on together. 
But we see it pretty well illustrated among our- 
selves by contrasting the sexes. A girl develops 


in body and mind rapidly, and ceases to grow com- 
paratively early. A boy's bodily and mental de- 
velopment is slower, and his growth greater. At 
the age when the one is mature, finished, and hav- 
ing all faculties in full play, the other, whose vital 
energies have been more directed towards increase 
of size, is relatively incomplete in structure ; and 
shows it in a comparative awkwardness, bodily and 
mental. Now this law is true not only of the 
organism as a whole, but of each separate part. 
The abnormally rapid advance of any part in re- 
spect of structure involves premature arrest of its 
growth; and this happens with the organ of the 
mind as certainly as with any other oi-gan. The 
brain, which during early years is relatively large 
in mass but imperfect in structure will, if required 
to perform its functions with undue activity, under- 
go a structural advance greater than is appropriate 
to the age ; but the ultimate eflfect will be a falling 
short of the size and power that would else have 
been attained. And this is a part cause — probably 
the chief cause — why precocious children, and 
youths who up to a certain time were carrying all 
before them, so often stop short and disappoint the 
high hopes of their parents. 

But these results of over-education, disastrous 
as they are, are perhaps less disastrous than the re- 
sults produced upon the health — the undermined 
constitution, the enfeebled energies, the morbid 
feelings. Eecent discoveries in physiology have 
shown how immense is the influence of the brain 


over the functions of the body. The digestion of 
the food, the circulation of the blood, and through 
these all other organic processes, are profoundly 
afiected by cerebral excitement. "Whoever has 
seen repeated, as we have, the experiment first per- 
formed by Weber, showing the consequence of 
irritating the vagus nerve which connects the brain 
with the viscera — whoever has seen the action of 
the heart suddenly arrested by the irrital 'on of this 
nerve; slowly recommencing when the irritation is 
suspended ; and again arrested the moment it is re- 
newed ; will have a vivid conception of the depress' 
ing influence which an over-wrought brain exer- 
cises on the body. The effects thus physiologically 
explained, are indeed exemplified in ordinary ex- 
perience. There is no one but has felt the palpita- 
tion accompanying hope, fear, anger, joy — no one 
but has observed how laboured becomes the action 
of the heart when these feelings are very violent. 
And though there are many who have never them 
selves suffered that extreme emotional excitement 
whicli is followed by arrest of the heart's action 
and fainting; yet every one knows them to be 
cause and effect. It is a familiar fact, too, that dis- 
turbance of the stomach is entailed by mental ex- 
citement exceeding a certain intensity. Loss of 
appetite is a common result alike of very pleasura- 
ble and very painful states of mind. When the 
event producing a pleasurable or painful state of 
mind occurs shortly after a meal, it not unfrequent- 
ly happens either that the stomach rejects what has 


been eaten, or digests it with great difficulty and 
under prolonged protest. And as every one who 
taxes his brain much can testify, even purely intel- 
lectual action will, when excessive, produce analo- 
gous efiects. Now the relation between brain and 
body which is so manifest in these extreme cases, 
holds equally in ordinaiy, less-marked cases. Just 
as tliese violent but temporary cerebral excitements 
produce violent but temporary disturbances of the 
viscera ; so do the less violent but chronic cerebral 
excitements, produce less violent but chronic visce- 
ral disturbances. This is not 8im})ly an inference 
— it is a truth to which every medical man can 
bear Avitness ; and it is one to which a long and sad 
experience enables us to give personal testimony. 
Various degrees and forms of bodily derangement, 
often taking years of enforced idleness to set par- 
tially right, result from this prolonged overexertion 
of mind. Sometimes the heart is chiefly affected : 
habitual palpitations; a pulse much enfeebled," 
and very generally a diminution in the number of 
beats from seventy-two to sixty, or even fewer. 
Sometimes the conspicuous disorder is of the stom- 
ach : a d3"spepsia which makes life a burden, and 
is amenable to no remedy but time. In many cases 
both heart and stomach are implicated. Mostly 
the sleep is short and broken. And very generally 
there is more or less mental depression. 

Consider, then, how great must be the damage 
inflicted by undue mental excitement on children 
?vnd youths. More or less of this constitutional dis- 


turbance will inevitably follow an exertion of brain 
beyond that which nature had provided for ; and 
when not so excessive as to produce absolute illness, 
is sure to entail a slowly accumulating degeneracy 
oi physique. With a small and fastidious appetite, 
an imperfect digestion, and an enfeebled circula- 
tion, how can the developing body flourish? Tlie 
due performance of every vital process depends 
on the adequate supply of good blood. "Without 
enough good blood, no gland can secrete properly, 
no viscus can fully discharge its office. Without 
enough good blood, no nerve, muscle, membrane, 
or other tissue can be efficiently repaired. With- 
out enough good blood, growth will neither bo 
sound nor sufficients Judge, then, how bad must 
be the consecpiences when to a growing body th3 
weakened stomach supplies blood that is deficient 
in quantity and poor in quality; while the debili- 
tated heart propels this poor and scanty blood with 
unnatural slowness. 

And if, as all who candidly investigate the mat- 
ter must admit, physical degeneracy is a conse- 
quence of excessive study, how grave is the con- 
demnation to be passed upon this cramming sys- 
tem above exemplified. It is a terrible mistake, 
from whatever point of view regarded. It is a 
mistake in so far as the mere acquirement of knowl- 
edge is concerned : for it is notorious that the 
mind, like the body, cannot assimilate beyond a 
certain rate ; and if you ply it with facts faster 
than it can assimilate them, they are very soon re- 


jected again : tliey do not become permanently 
built into the intellectual fabric ; but fall out of 
recollection after the passing of the examination 
for which they were got up. It is a mistake, too, 
because it tends to make study distasteful. Either 
through the painful associations produced by cease- 
less mental toil, or through the abnormal state of 
brain it leaves behind, it often generates an aver- 
sion to books ; and, instead of that subsequent self- 
culture induced by a rational education, there 
comes a continued retrogression. It is a mistake, 
also, inasmuch as it assumes that the acquisition of 
knowledge is everything ; and forgets that a much 
more important matter is the organization of knowl- 
edge, for which time and spontaneous thinking are 
requisite. Just as Humboldt remarks respecting 
the progress of intelligence in general, that " the 
interpretation of nature is obscured when the de- 
scription languishes under too great an accumula- 
tion of insulated facts;" so it maybe remarked, 
respecting the progress of individual intelligence, 
that the mind is overburdened and hampered by 
an excess of ill-digested information. It is not the 
knowledge stored up as intellectual fat M-hich is of 
value ; but that which is turned into intellectual 
muscle. But the mistake is still deeper. Even 
were the system good as a system of intellectual 
training, which it is not, it would still be bad, be- 
cause, as we have shown, it is fatal to that vigour 
oi 2)hysique which is needful to make intellectual 
draining available in the struggle of life. Those 


who, in eagerness to cultivate tlieir pupils' minds, 
are reckless of their bodies, do not remember that 
success in the world depends much more upon en- 
ergy than upon information ; and that a policy 
which in cramming with information undermines 
energy, is self-defeating. The strong will and un- 
tiring activity which result from abundant animal 
vigour, go far to compensate even for great defects 
of education ; and when joined with that quite ad- 
equate education which may be obtained without 
sacrificing health, they ensure an easy victory over 
competitors enfeebled by excessive study: prodi- 
gies of learning though they may be. A compara- 
tively small and ill-made engine, worked at high- 
pressure, will do more than a larger and well-fin- 
ished one worked at low-pressure. What folly is 
it, then, while finishing the engine, so to damage 
the boiler that it will not generate steam ! Once 
'more, the system is a mistake, as involving a false 
estimate of welfare in life. Even supposing it 
were a means to worldly success, instead of a means 
to worldly failure, yet, in the entailed ill-health, it 
would inflict a more than equivalent curse. What 
boots it to have attained wealth, if the wealth is 
accompanied by ceaseless ailments ? What is the 
worth of distinction, if it has brought hypochon- 
dria with it ? Surely none needs telling that a good 
digestion, a bounding pulse, and high spirits are 
elements of happiness which no external advan- 
tages can outbalance. Chronic bodil}'- disorder 
casts a gloom over the brightest prospects ; while 


the vivacity of strong health gilds even inisfortuiie. 
We contend, then, that this over-education is vi- 
cious in every M'ay — vicious, as giving kno"\vledge 
that will soon be forgotten ; vicious, as producing 
a disgust for knowledge ; vicious, as neglecting 
th&,t organization of knowledge which is mo)'e ini- 
}3ortant than its acquisition ; vicious, as weakening 
or destroying that energy, without M-hicli a trained 
intellect is useless ; vicious, as entailing that ill- 
health for which even success would not compen- 
sate, and which makes failure doubly bitter. 

On women the eflects of this forcing system 
are, if possible, even more injurious than on men. 
Being in great measure debarred from those vigor- 
ous and enjoyable exercises of body by which boys 
mitigate the evils of excessive study, girls feed 
these evils in their full intensity. Hence, the 
much smaller proportion of them who grow up 
well made and healthy. In the pale, angular, flat- 
chested young ladies, so abundant in London djaw- 
ing-rooms, we see the effect of merciless a})plica- 
tion, unrelieved by youthful sports ; and this phj-s- 
ical degeneracy exhibited by them, hinders their 
welfare far more than their many accomplishmentd 
aid it. Mammas anxious to make their daughters 
attractive, could scarcely choose a course more fatal 
than this, which sacrifices the body to the mind. 
Either they disregard the tastes of the opposite 
sex, or else their conception of those tastes is erro- 
neous. Men care comparatively little for erudition 
in women ; but very much for physical beauty, and 


goodnature, and sound sense. How man}' con^ 
quests does the blue-stocking make tlirougli her ex- 
tensive knowledge of history ? What man ever 
fell in love with a woman because she understood 
Italian ? Where is the Edwin who was brouf'-ht tc 
Angelina's feet by her German ? But rosy cheeks 
and laughing eyes are great attractions. A finely 
rounded figure draws admiring glances. The live- 
liness and good humour that overflowing htaltli 
produces, go a great way towards establishing at- 
tachments. Every one knows cases where bodily 
perfections, in the absence of all other recommer.- 
dations, have incited a passion that carried all be- 
fore it ; but scarcely any one can point to a case 
where mere intellectual acquirements, apart from 
moral or physical attributes, have aroused such a 
feeling. The truth is that, out of the many ele- 
ments uniting in various proportions to produce in 
a man's breast that complex emotion which we call 
love, the strongest are those produced by physical 
attractions ; the next in order of strength are those 
produced by moral attractions ; the weakest are 
those produced by intellectual attractions ; and 
even these are dependent much less upon acquired 
knowledge than on natural faculty — quickness, wit, 
insight. If any think the assertion a derogatory 
one, and inveigh against the masculine character 
for being thus swayed ; we reply that they little 
know what they say when they thus call in ques- 
tion the Divine ordinations. Even were there no 
obvious meaning in the arrangement, we might be 


sure tliat fonie important end was subserved. But 
tlie meaning is quite obvious to those who exam- 
ine. It needs but to remember that one of Na. 
ture's ends, or rather her supreme end, is the wel- 
fare of posterit}^ — it needs but to remember that, 
in so far as jDOsterity are concerned, a cultivated 
intelligence based upon a bad j9/*2/«/^?/e is of little 
worth, seeing that its descendants will die out in a 
generation or two — it needs but to bear in mind 
that a good physique^ however poor the accompa- 
nying mental endowments, is worth preserving, be- 
causCj throughout future generations, the mental 
endowments may be indetinitely developed — it 
needs but to contemplate these truths, to see how 
important is the balance of instincts above de- 
scribed. But, purpose apart, the instincts being 
thus balanced, it is a fatal folly to persist in a sys- 
tem which undermines a gii-l's constitution that it 
may overload her memory. Educate as highly as 
possible — the higher the better — providing no bod- 
ily injury is entailed (and we may remark, in pass- 
ing, that a high standard might be so reached were 
the parrot-faculty cultivated less, and the human 
faculty more, and M-ere the discipline extended 
over that now wasted period between leaving school 
and being married). But to educate in such man- 
ner, or to such extent, as to prodnce physical de- 
generacy, is to defeat the chief end for which the 
toil and cost and anxiety are submitted to. By 
subjecting their daughters to this high-pressure 
system, parents frequently ruin their prospects in 


life. Not only do they inflict on them enfeebled 
health, with all its pains and disabilities and gloom,* 
but very often they actually doom them to celibacy. 

Our general conclusion is, then, that the ordi- 
nary treatment of children is, in various ways, se- 
riously prejudicial. It errs in deficient feeding; 
in deficient clothing ; in deficient exercise (among 
girls at least); and in excessive mental application. 
Considering the regime as a whole, its tendency is 
too exacting : it asks too much and gives too little. 
In the extent to which it taxes the vital energies, 
it makes the juvenile life much more like the adult 
life than it sliould be. It overlooks the truth that, 
as in the foetus the entire vitality is expended in 
the direction of growth — as in the infant, the ex- 
penditure of vitality in growth is so great as to 
leave extremely little for either physical or mental 
action ; so throughout childhood and youth growth 
is the dominant requirement to which all others 
must be subordinated : a requirement which dic- 
tates the giving of much and the taking away of 
little — a requirement which, therefore, restricts the 
exertion of body and mind to a degree proportion- 
ate to the rapidity of growth — a requirement which 
permits the mental and physical activities to in- 
crease only as fast as the rate of growth diminisheSo 

Kegarded from another point of view, this high- 
pressure education manifestly results from our pass- 
ing phase of civilization. In primitive times, when 
aggression and defence were the leading social ac* 


tivities, bodily vigour with its accompanying conr- 
age were the desiderata ; and then education was 
almost wholly physical : mental cultivation was lit- 
tle cared for, and indeed, as in our own feudal ages, 
was often treated with contempt. But now that 
our state is relatively peaceful — now that muscular 
power is of use for little else than manual labour, 
W'hile social success of nearly every kind de- 
pends very much on mental power ; our education 
has become almost exclusively mental. Instead 
of respecting the bod}' and ignoring the mind, 
we now resjDCct the mind and ignore the body. 
Both these attitudes are wrong. We do not yet 
sufficiently realize the truth that as, in this life of 
ours, the physical underlies the mental, the mental 
must not be developed at the expense of the physi- 
cal. The ancient and modern conceptions must ho 

Perhaps nothing will so much hasten the time 
when body and mind will both be adequately' cared 
for, as a diffusion of the belief that the preserva- 
tion of health is a duty, tew seem conscious that 
there is such a thing as physical morality. Men's 
habitual words and acts imply the idea that they 
are at liberty to treat their bodies as they please. 
Disorders entailed by disobedience to ^Nature's dic- 
tates, they regard simply as grievances : not as the 
effects of a conduct more or less flagitious. Thougli 
the evil consequences inflicted on their depend 
ents, and on future generations, are often as great 
as those caused by crime j yet they do not think 


fhemselves in any degree criminal. It is true, that, 
in the case of drunkenness, the viciousness of a 
])urely bodily transgression is recognised ; but none 
appear to infer that, if this bodily transgression is 
vicious, so too is every bodily transgression. The 
fact is, that all breaches of the laws of health are 
2)hysical snis. A¥hen this is generally seen, then, 
and perhaps not till then, will the physical training 
of the young receive all the attention it deserves. 



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